South Korea tables law to remove app stores' in-app purchase monopolies

Perhaps coincidentally, Google extended deadline of enforced Play-to-Pay on the very same day


South Korea will attempt to pass a law that gives app developers the right to use in-app payment services other than those offered by app stores.

The nation's Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee yesterday recommended amendments to the relevant telecoms legislation after more than a year of debate.

Breaking monopolies is the intent of the law. South Korean legislators feel that Google and Apple dominate the app store market, and that developers have no choice but to use their in-app payment schemes and could do better in an open market.

Perhaps coincidentally, Google yesterday offered to extend its deadline for developers to comply with a September 2020 edict that the company said "made explicit" a requirement that South Korean developers must ensure that apps they offer in the Play store use only Google's in-app payment facilities.

Google yesterday posted an update that said it has heard developer feedback that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it hard to complete remediation work, so will accept applications for extensions to March 2022.

Members of the main opposition party in the Committee did not vote to advance the law to a vote in the National Assembly, because they felt the USA would be upset by the implications for Apple and Google. As the governing Democratic Party – which does support the bill – has a majority on the floor, the proposal has very good prospects of becoming law.

South Korea's move comes as Google faces antitrust action in the USA over its Play Store policies, while Apple fights games developer Epic over similar issues. ®

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