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South Korean parliament discussing app stores

Will South Korea be the first to win over the giants’ app stores?

Google’s and Apple’s app stores are too dominating, critics say. The companies are facing global attacks on the rules for their app stores that force software developers to use the giants’ stores’ proprietary payment systems that charge commissions of up to 30%. A South Korean parliamentary committee has now supported an amendment to a law that would stop this but the full parliament’s voting has been delayed until further notice, South Korean news agency Yonhap reports.

Apple has repeated its argument that without the app rules users who purchase digital goods from other sources are at risk of fraud, undermining their privacy protections and make it difficult to manage their purchases. Google says there has not been enough time for analysis of the negative impact of this legislation on Korean consumers and app developers.

In the US the companies have been criticized by major politicians. Apple’s and Google’s app stores have been in focus at US Senate hearings accused of being too dominant and blocking competition. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also joined the critics saying measures are needed to address the app stores’  dominance.

Game maker Epic Games, maker of popular game Fortnight, challenged the apps by for games available on the stores introducing direct payment via its own payment system.

As expected, Epic was taken to court and after a long legal process, the market is still waiting for the cout’s ruling. CEO Tim Sweeney said his company on purpose had violated Apple’s rules when putting Epic’s own in-app payment system into the game.

We wanted the world to see that Apple exercises total control over all software on iOS, and it can use that control to deny users’ access to apps,” Sweeney, said when testifying in court.

Epic has filed a similar lawsuit against Google as both Apple and Google pulled Epic’s game from their stores.

The court case is focusing on two Apple store rules:

  • Apple says all third-party software for iPhones shall be distributed through its App Store
  • Developers shall use Apple’s in-app purchase system, which charges commissions of up to 30%.

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