Apple was on a collision course with South Korea on Friday over new requirements that it should stop forcing app developers to use its payment systems, with a government official warning of a possible investigation into the iPhone maker’s compliance.
The development comes after South Korea amended the Telecommunications Trade Act in August to try to curb the tech major’s market dominance and prevent large app store operators such as Apple And Google By charging commission on in-app purchases.
The law went into effect last month, but Apple told the South Korean government it was already compliant and did not need to change its App Store policy, according to an official of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) in charge of the matter. The official told Reuters.
“This goes against the purpose of the amended law,” said the official, requesting anonymity, as KCC was still in talks with Apple on compliance.
The regulator will ask Apple’s South Korean unit for a new company policy giving greater autonomy in payment methods, and on measures such as fact-finding checks as a precursor to potential fines or other penalties if Apple fails to comply. Will consider
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The KCC official said Google had informed KCC that it plans to comply with the law, including allowing third-party payment systems, and will discuss the matter with the regulator from next week.
Google did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Jang Jong-cha, a lawyer specializing in antitrust cases, said the Korean regulation caused Apple to suffer more than Google.
“Apple and Google may differ in their willingness to land because Apple controls everything from the hardware to the operating system (OS) to the app market to the payment system,” he told Reuters.
“And (Apple) has more to lose if its dominance breaks down on either front, which could lead to demands for openness on other fronts.”
© Thomson Reuters 2021