South Korea will force Google and Apple to allow third-party payments

The bill could have global ramifications.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google I/O 2019 keynote session at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 7, 2019. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JOSH EDELSON via Getty Images

In a blow to both Apple and Google, South Korea has today passed a law requiring major app stores to allow alternative payment methods. The Wall Street Journal reports that the bill, due to be rubber-stamped by president Moon Jae-in, forces platform holders to open up their stores. In addition, the new rules will prevent unreasonable delays for app approvals, which has been described as a way to prevent retaliation against developers. Companies which fail to comply with the ruling are at risk of being fined up to three percent of their domestic revenue.

The bill could have global ramifications given the battles that Google and Apple have fought concerning their app platform dominance. Both companies have come under fire for how they run the App and Play stores, respectively, with regulators and developers scrutinizing their business practices. In July, 36 US states launched an antitrust suit against Google over concerns that it is violating antitrust law, while Apple has been engaged in well-documented skirmishes with both Epic Games and Spotify. Officials in both the US and Europe, both of which are wrestling with concerns over the future of digital payments, are likely to look at both South Korea’s law, and how both companies respond to it. 

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