The battle over in-app or third-party payments has escalated. South Korea has passed a law that requires Apple and Google to allow alternative payment systems, or face fines.
It amends the country’s Telecommunications Business Act to ban operators from requiring purchases through their own stores. The law also includes provisions to prevent operators from retaliating against app developers (e.g., deleting their apps or their approval). Violators will be subject to fines of 3 percent of their South Korean revenue by the country’s media regulator. The law will be signed by President Moon Jae-in.
Both companies have been entangled in legal battles with the Epic Games Store over their policies, which some have described as anti-competitive. Lawmakers and regulators in the EU and US are looking closer into these practices. Each may be eyeing the progress of the new law as guidance for future legislation.
The law amends South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act to prevent large app-market operators from requiring the use of their in-app purchasing systems. It also bans operators from unreasonably delaying the approval of apps or deleting them from the marketplace—provisions meant to head off retaliation against app makers.