South Korean parliamentary committee votes to curb dominance of Google and Apple committee


A 3D printed Google logo is placed on the Apple Macbook in this illustration taken on April 12, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Reuters) – A South Korean parliamentary committee voted early Wednesday to recommend changing a law, a key step to ban Google and Apple from forcibly charging software developers commissions on in-app purchases , the first of these restrictions by a large economy.

After the Legislative and Judicial Committee votes to amend the Telecommunications Business Act, dubbed the “anti-Google law”, the amendment will go to a final vote in parliament.

The vote could take place on Wednesday, although South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that parliament would act at a later date.

A parliament official told Reuters the office has yet to receive a formal request not to hold the meeting on Wednesday.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) Google have both come under global criticism for forcing software developers using their app stores to use proprietary payment systems that charge commissions. up to 30%.

In a statement on Tuesday, Apple said the bill “would put users who buy digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy,” will hurt user confidence in App Store purchases and will reduce opportunities for South Korean developers.

Wilson White, senior director of public policy at Google, said that “the rushed process failed to sufficiently analyze the negative impact of this legislation on Korean consumers and app developers.”

Legal experts have said app store operators could work with developers and other companies to create secure payment methods other than the ones they provide.

“Google and Apple are not the only ones who can create a secure payment system,” said Lee Hwang, professor at Korea University School of Law specializing in competition law. “I think it’s a problem to try to instill undue fear by talking about safety or security in using different payment methods.”

Based on South Korean parliament records, the amendment prohibits app store operators with dominant market positions from forcing payment systems on content providers and “inappropriately” delaying the process. review or removal of mobile content from application marketplaces.

It also allows the South Korean government to require an operator of the applications market to “prevent harm to users and protect the rights and interests of users”, probe operators of the application market and arbitrate disputes. regarding payment, cancellations or refunds in the application marketplace.

This month in the United States, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would curb the app stores of companies they say have too much control over the market, including Apple and Google.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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