South Korea Outlaws Google Play & Apple App Store Payment Requirements

South Korea Outlaws Google Play & Apple App Store Payment Requirements

September 2, 2021

South Korea this week became the first country to pass a law prohibiting Apple and Google from requiring app developers to use their payment systems for in-app purchases. President Moon Jae-in, whose party actively backed the legislation, is expected to sign the bill.

Developers globally have long chafed at the requirement, which resulted in commissions on each transaction of up to 30 percent. Apple and Google have defended the commissions by claiming they are necessary to pay for costs associated with the app marketplaces—notably to prevent fraud.

"The bill will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases, and features like Ask to Buy and Parental Controls will become less effective,” Apple said in a statement. "We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this proposal.”

Separately, in the U.S., Apple tentatively settled a class-action suit brought by developers in 2019 that also will affect payments and commissions (not the suit brought by Fortnite publisher Epic Games). Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Apple agreed to let developers use communications like email to steer users to payment methods outside of their iOS app but will still forbid such messaging within the apps themselves.

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