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South Korea aims to end Apple and Google’s commission dominance

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South Korea aims to end Apple and Google’s commission dominance
Ivan Mehta
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Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

South Korea is set to pass a landmark amendment to a law that could force Apple and Google to give up their grip over collecting commissions from developers.

While there has been a lot of discussions around these two companies having too much control over fees collected from in-app purchases in their app stores, this is the first time a country has taken a definitive step to curb that.

According to Reuters, a South Korean parliamentary committee has already voted in favor of the amendment this morning. The parliament could cast their final votes today. 

Apple and Google both charge 30% fees from app developers for in-app purchases. However, over the last year, they’ve cut down these charges to 15% for revenues under $1 million.

Both companies believe that their in-app purchase methods provide a robust and safe framework for developers to earn money and avoid fraud.

In response to South Korea’s new rule amendment, Apple said this step could be dangerous for users in terms of privacy:

This step will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases.

The company added that this move provides fewer opportunities for more than 482,000 registered Apple developers in South Korea, who have earned KRW8.55 trillion ($7.3 billion) to date. 

In comparison, sales from the Google Play Store are higher; The Korea Times noted that the figure reached the KRW5 trillion ($4.3 billion) mark last year.

In the US, a bipartisan bill was introduced this month, looking to curb Apple and Google’s dominance over in-app payment systems in their app stores.

Apart from governments, companies like Epic Games and Spotify have been critical of unfair app commissions.

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