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Apple to end policy that charged South Korean devs higher App Store commissions

Korea's antitrust org to develop a platform to respond to Big Tech’s sneaky ways

According to South Korea's Fair Trade Commission, Apple said it will correct an oddity that sees local developers charged even more than the usual 30 percent Cupertino demands for sales of software in its App Store.

News of the change comes after the Commission (FTC) in September launched an antitrust probe into Apple – in part because it added a ten percent sales tax before charging commission fees in South Korea, and only South Korea. The unusual billing policy resulted in Korean app developers paying a 33 percent rate of commission while their overseas counterparts paid only 30 percent.

The FTC has had words with Apple about the situation, and the iThing-maker has promised to fix it so South Korean developers pay just 30 percent.

"If Apple's voluntary correction is carried out well in the future, I think it will alleviate some of the difficulties of domestic app developers, and help app market operators and app developers communicate more actively to build a fairer and more vibrant app market ecosystem," said FTC Chairman Han Ki-jung, via machine translation from Korean.

Han's remarks were made after a visit to local developers as part of the FTC's efforts to support a dynamic and innovative app market ecosystem, and create a fair competition base in the global tech-monopolized app market.

The FTC said it is closely monitoring cases of app market antitrust violations and plans to establish a dedicated online platform org for handling such cases. The FTC did not give a date for when this platform would be initiated or completed, other than "soon."

Apple has had a tough time in South Korea of late. In August, the country's Communications Commission (KCC) said it was investigating Apple, among others, for finding a workaround to Korea's app store payment choice mandate.

Previously, Apple was slow to comply with a law passed in September 2021 requiring Apple and Google to offer third-party payment options in their app stores. Apple argued for months that it was already compliant, then caved in January 2022. ®

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