South Korea is set to be the first country in the world to pass legislation to manage app stores run by Apple and Google, with lawmakers likely to vote in favor of stricter rules on Wednesday.
The bill, which amends South Korea’s telecommunications law, is dubbed the “anti-Google law” by local media for its targeted language against owners of digital app stores. It’s designed to force Apple and Google to allow alternative payment methods for in-app purchases, as well as to ban App Store rules that would deter developers from marketing their products on other platforms.
Currently, Apple is reducing all in-app purchases by up to 30%, and Google plans to implement a similar strategy next year.
The legislation was submitted for committee review to the Korean National Assembly in July with minor resistance and is now being voted on in the Judiciary Committee before being sent to the plenary assembly and ratified. by President Moon Jae-in.
South Korean lawmakers are expected to vote in favor of the amendment today, reports Reuters.
Apple and Google have been pushing against passage of the bill for months.
Apple said Reuters that “user confidence in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this proposal – resulting in fewer opportunities for the more than 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned over KRW 8.55 billion to date with Apple “.
An almost identical statement was included in a report released by The New York Times Monday, who quoted a Google spokeswoman as saying the company believed the legislation would hurt consumers and software developers.
Business groups associated with Apple and Google are also fighting the measure. In October, the Information Technology Industry Council urged the U.S. trade representative to voice concerns about the South Korean bill in an annual foreign trade report. The group said passing the legislation could violate joint trade agreements.
“We are engaging a range of stakeholders to gather facts as legislation is considered in Korea, recognizing the need to distinguish between discriminating against US companies and promoting competition,” said the USTR Representative Adam Hodge in statements to The temperature and Reuters.
Apple and Google face comparable government scrutiny over their respective app store practices in other jurisdictions, including a fierce push against all of Big Tech in the United States