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South Korea Readies Google And Apple App Store Crackdown

New legislation in South Korea could effectively keep Apple and Google from charging commissions on in-app purchases.

The South Korean parliament’s legislation and judiciary committee is expected to approve an amendment Tuesday (Aug. 24) to the Telecommunications Business Act — nicknamed the “Anti-Google law” — which would stop Apple and Google from requiring software developers to use their payment systems.

Assuming the committee approves the amendment, it would receive a final vote on Wednesday, Reuters reported, and would mark the first such restrictions on the Big Tech companies by a major economy.

Apple and Google have been criticized in multiple countries for their rule requiring developers to use proprietary in-app payment systems that charge commissions as high as 30 percent for in-app purchases. Neither firm commented on the Reuters report.

“For gaming apps, Google has been forcing app developers to use its own payment system … and it wants to expand its policy to other apps like music or webtoon,” Kwon Se-hwa, a general manager at the Korea Internet Corporations Association, a nonprofit group representing Korean IT firms, told Reuters.

Read more: US Senate Bill Focuses On App Store Payment System Rules

Earlier this month, a trio of U.S. senators introduced a bill that would create rules governing app stores and allow developers to use third-party payments services and stores.

If made law, the bill would establish the Open Markets App Act, which will be used to fight monopoly-like structures imposed by Big Tech.

“This legislation will tear down coercive anticompetitive walls in the app economy, giving consumers more choices and smaller startup tech companies a fighting chance,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), who is sponsoring the bill with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“For years, Apple and Google have squashed competitors and kept consumers in the dark-pocketing hefty windfalls while acting as supposedly benevolent gatekeepers of this multi-billion dollar market.”

The European Union has also discussed its own Digital Markets Act, which would put restrictions on app store commissions.

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