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Japan Prepares ‘Digital Antitrust Law’ to Challenge Apple and Google App Store Policies

 |  January 1, 2024

In a significant move to address concerns of monopoly in the mobile market, Japanese authorities are gearing up to introduce a “Digital Antitrust Law,” as reported by Nihon Keizai Shimbun. This new legislation aims to compel tech giants such as Apple and Google to open up their ecosystems by enabling “application sideloading” and allowing “third-party payment” options specifically within the Japanese market.

As of now, Google already permits the sideloading of applications on its Android platform. Consequently, the company might only need to navigate the third-party payment requirement in Japan. On the other hand, Apple, known for its closed iOS system, prohibits the sideloading of apps. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, expressed concerns about the potential risks associated with sideloading, emphasizing the difficulty of verifying the source and intentions of such applications.

Read more: Google’s Latest Play Store Suit Gets Class Action Status

The genesis of this impending legislation can be traced back to 2020 when Japanese authorities initiated investigations into antitrust issues involving major tech players, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta, and others. This year, regulatory agencies declared the completion of the probe, asserting that “Apple and Google dominate the mobile app platform, creating a monopoly.” Consequently, the Japanese authorities have deemed it imperative to formulate the “Digital Antitrust Law” to address the monopoly concerns.

The proposed law will mandate any company conducting business in the Japanese market to open its app store and third-party payment channels. If the legislation passes, the Japan Fair Trade Commission will wield the authority to impose fines on brands found in violation. The primary objective behind the law is to break the perceived monopoly held by Apple, Google, and other select brands in the Japanese mobile market.

Source: GIZ China