App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • A new law in South Korea could blow Apple's App Store wide open.
  • A parliamentary committee has approved an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Act.
  • It would stop Apple and Google from forcing developers to use in-app payment systems for purchases on iOS.

A parliamentary committee in South Korea has passed an amendment to its Telecommunications Business Act that will now move to a final vote in parliament.

Yonhap news agency reports:

A parliamentary committee on Wednesday passed a bill to ban Google and Apple from forcing app developers to use the platforms' payment systems, clearing the last remaining hurdle before a final vote.

The legislation and judiciary committee of the National Assembly approved the revision of the Telecommunications Business Act, which seeks to bar app market operators from requiring developers to use certain payment systems by unfairly using their positions.

As previously reported, S. Korea is seeking to legislate against Apple and Google, preventing them from forcing developers to use in-app payment systems for purchases on their platforms. The measure would deprive Apple of its 15-30% commission taken on transactions for digital goods on devices like the iPhone 12. A full parliamentary vote will now take place in a plenary session. If passed, Korea would become the first country in the world to successfully legislate against Apple regarding antitrust issues.

In a statement, Apple has warned that the move "will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections and make it difficult to manage their purchases." Tim Cook told the judge in the Epic Games vs Apple lawsuit that even if developers did use third-party payment methods, Apple would still have to find a way to collect commission from them.

The Coalition for App Fairness, which has lobbied for this bill, said yesterday it was "pleased to see the South Korean Judiciary Committee approve legislation that would bolster innovation and consumer choice." Stating "South Korea is now on the verge of becoming the first nation to approve legislation holding app store gatekeepers accountable for their anti-competitive practices, and bringing fairness to the digital marketplace."