Legal

App Developers Ask Korea To Probe Apple, Google's In-App Purchase Policies

Korean startups are petitioning the government to look into whether Google and Apple have been violating laws related to in-app purchases, the Korea Herald reported.

An alliance of local firms and app developers contends that Apple has forced developers to use its specific in-app purchase system since 2011, according to the report. The company takes around 30 percent commission from every transaction done through the platform.

Meanwhile, Google also may be applying in-app purchase modules, complete with commissions taken out, which only applies in Korea, according to sources cited by Korea Herald.

Google and Apple combined control 87.8 percent of the app purchase market in the country, Korea Herald reported, citing a Ministry of Science and ICT’s report from 2019.

“While the 30 percent commission rate is too high in itself, it is more problematic that they force a specific payment system for the app markets,” Korea Startup Forum President Choi Sung-jin said, according to the report. He added that the difference between smaller startups and larger companies is that the larger ones have the levity to negotiate commission rates with the providers.

The smaller startups like those in the Forum, however, often can't afford to, and it could affect app usage fees for them. Apple and Google didn't respond to Korea Herald’s requests for comment, the report stated.

Apple, Google and other big tech companies have come under fire from multiple sides as of late. There's the looming Department of Justice probe in the U.S., which is going "full-tilt" according to Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen.

He called it a "major priority" to get to the bottom of whether the companies have engaged in anti-competitive practices in establishing their positions at the top of the tech market. The companies' CEOs appeared before Congress recently, which ended in lawmakers concluding that they "have monopoly power."

There are also multiple probes into the companies at state levels, with many states likely to join any potential lawsuit by the federal government.

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