South Korean lawmakers on Tuesday approved a law banning application stores control how apps and their services are paid for.
South Korea would be the first country in the world to pass such a law.
Tech companies Google and Apple operate profitable app stores. They require application makers to use their payment systems.
Google and Apple have faced a lot of criticism for their payment systems requirements. This is because they get up to 30 percent of the sales money in their app stores. They say the money helps pay for the cost of running these stores. Google’s Google Play and Apple’s App Store are used by people around the world.
South Korea’s new law prevents app stores from using their strong market positions to demand the use of their payment systems. Instead, they should let app makers provide additional payment options to the public. South Korea says the ban is intended to support fairer competition.
The law also aims to prevent reprisals against app makers by prohibiting app stores from unreasonably delaying app approval.
Apple criticized the law in a statement Tuesday. He said the law would “put users who buy digital goods” with other payment methods at risk of fraud. The company also said the law would weaken the protection of users’ privacy and make it difficult to monitor their purchases. And, Apple said, it will make parental controls and other tools less effective.
The company said that user confidence in app store purchases will decrease and lead to less Opportunities for Korean application developers.
The new law will also allow Korean officials to examine app markets to find disputes and stop actions that block fair competition.
Officials in Europe, China and other countries are concerned about the market control of Apple, Google and similar companies. This includes their control over payment systems, online advertisements, and other things. Chinese officials have fined some companies for breaking rules designed to prevent monopolies. Other governments are trying to decide how best to keep markets competitive.
The Korea Internet Corporations Association is an industry group. Its members include South Korea’s largest internet companies, such as Naver, a search engine and online shopping service. Naver welcomed the passage of the law and said it would create healthier competition. The company also said it will give users more choices at lower prices.
Google said it was considering how to obey the new law.
“Google Play offers more than just payment processing,” and the cost of the service helps keep Android free, the company said in a statement. Android is Google’s operating system for smart phones. The company said it gives developers the tools to reach a market of billions of people around the world.
“And just as it costs developers money to build an app, it costs us money to build” and maintain an operating system and an app store, Google said.
Recently, Apple announced that it will let iPhone app makers educate users on inexpensive ways to buy digital. subscriptions and media.
The decision was part of a legal case involving developers of iPhone applications in the United States. Additionally, a U.S. federal court judge will soon rule on a separate case brought by Epic Games. The company created the popular Fortnite video game.
The judge wondered why Apple wouldn’t let app developers like Fortnite display different payment choices in their apps.
Over the past year, Google and Apple have reduced the percentage of sales they take from app makers by 30 to 15 percent. This reduction is for app makers who earn less than $ 1 million per year, which is the case for most apps in their stores. But that doesn’t help the biggest app makers, like Epic Games and Spotify. The two have taken their complaints around the world.
The Executive Commission of the European Union has accused Apple of forcing developers to use its payment system. Several US states filed a lawsuit in July against the Google App Store. And Australian officials have also said they are concerned about Apple and Google’s requirements for payment methods.
I am Alice Bryant.
The Associated Press reported this story. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learn English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
Words in this story
application -not. . a computer program designed for smartphones and tablets that does a specific job
monopoly -not. a situation in which a business has complete control over the supply of goods or services in an area or market
reprisals -not. doing something bad to someone who has harmed or mistreated you
fraud -not. the crime of using dishonest methods to take something of value from another person
opportunity -not. a period of time or a situation in which something can be done or won; a chance to do business
subscription -not. an agreement you make with a company to get a post or service on a regular basis