App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • A group of startups in Korea wants an investigation into Apple.
  • They've filed a petition to the Korea Communications Commission.
  • It's over claims Apple's in-app purchase system violates the law.

A group of startups in Korea has filed a petition to the Korea Communications Commission, on the grounds that Apple's in-app purchase system appears to be unlawful.

According to The Korea Herald:

Local startup companies Wednesday have submitted a petition to the Korea Communications Commission, asking for an investigation into whether Apple and Google are violating laws related to in-app purchases.

According to an alliance of local application developers and startup firms, Apple has been forcing developers to use their specific in-app purchase system since 2011, through which the company takes around 30 percent commission from purchases by users.

The startup group's president says that whilst the 30 percent commission rate is high, the bigger problem is that Apple (and Google) force a specific payment system for the marketplaces. According to the report, they also note that whilst larger developers have some room to negotiate with Apple (see Amazon), smaller firms and startups "cannot afford to and that it could eventually lead to a rise in app usage fees."

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The petition could not have come at a worse time for Apple, given its recent spat with Epic Games over a breach of Apple's App Store guidelines. Epic used the intentional breach as a platform to sue Apple over its App Store "monopoly" in its biggest antitrust case so far. Most recently, Epic has filed a motion to stop Apple's plans to terminate Epic's developer accounts over the breach of App Store guidelines. Apple has until midnight Friday to respond.