Korea investigating Apple and Google over in-app purchase costs

in General Discussion edited August 2020
The Korean government will investigate claims that Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store charge excessive fees to developers when customers make in-app purchases.

Apple's only store in South Korea
Apple's only store in South Korea

Following a local Korean consortium's petition, the country's Ministry of Science and ICT has announced that it is to investigate Apple and Google. The claim is that the companies use their positions to impose high fees, and can also alter conditions at will.

"[The ministry] will carefully monitor and prepare policies that can cope with the increasing influence of platform providers," a spokesperson told The Korea Herald. "The ministry will also mediate between developers and platform operators to secure user rights."

Previously, the consortium's president Choi Sung-jin said that local developers were concerned both about Google and Apple's fees, and that there were no alternatives to using them.

"While the 30 percent commission rate is too high in itself," Consortium president Choi Sung-jin said, "it is more problematic that they force a specific payment system for the app markets."

According to The Korea Herald, the ministry says it intends to survey developers further. It's possible that findings may result in amendments to the country's forthcoming Telecommunications Business Act, which is due to take effect in January 2021.

This investigation into App Store policies comes as Apple is embroiled in a dispute with Fortnite developer Epic over rules and fees. It also follows Tim Cook defending the store in front of the House of Judiciary.

Recently, Apple has also supported research that claims its App Store operates to the same fees as other equivalents, including Google's.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,380member
    Surely 'Korea' already 'investigates' all things Apple continuously anyway, that's their R&D department they share with Google after all.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    More shakedowns in the works. Apple should never give in to these tactics.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,188member
    A retail rental construct includes conditions based on earnings - this is something many developers have never had to experience due to their business solely living through the internet. 

    This act of protesting the 30% fee is merely going to bite them in other ways. Let’s say Apple allow 3rd party payment processing, instead they can rightfully demand a fee for the apps place and activity on the store.

    Secondly removing Apple from payment professing doesn’t remove them from disputes: Developers can expect their apps to be frozen and investigated for their activities. Developers can experience first hand how a group of fraudulent competitors can make a series of complaints to their payment system provider in order to have them blocked from service. 

    Developers of titles like fortnight with their fast rise to millions of players would literally have to become as large and proficient as Blizzard to cope with the consumer aspect that Apple currently handles.

    Then there are the end consumers, who have to deal with a magnitude of different payment processing platforms, and the perhaps tricky ways that they are implemented from application to application in order to fool users into paying for more than they want or need. 

    Developers are looking at this with a very short sighted point of view - any of the proposed changes will hurt small developers, and force large developers to be constantly on defense. 
  • Reply 4 of 4
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    MacPro said:
    Surely 'Korea' already 'investigates' all things Apple continuously anyway, that's their R&D department they share with Google after all.

    There was a poster here who convinced himself Samsung invented the iPhone. Sad thing is, he's not the first one to convince himself.
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