South Korea regulator accuses Google and Apple of app market dominance abuse 

Image Source: Reuters

The South Korean Communications Commission (KCC) has accused tech giants Google and Apple of abusing their dominant positions in the app market, as reported by Reuters. The regulator contends that both companies have imposed specific payment methods on app developers and caused unjust delays in app reviews. The KCC has issued a “pre-notice” to Google and Apple, warning of possible fines amounting to $50.5 million.

The KCC has accused Google and Apple of leveraging their significant market power to enforce particular payment systems and unfairly delay app reviews. The KCC is notifying both companies to take corrective actions to address the alleged abuses.

After reviewing responses from Google and Apple, the regulator could impose fines of up to 68 billion won ($50.47 million) in total. This includes a potential 47.5 billion won fine for Google and a 20.5 billion won fine for Apple.

In 2021, South Korea passed an amendment to the Telecommunication Business Act that prohibits app store operators from mandating software developers to use their payment systems. The KCC contends that Google and Apple’s actions, including enforcing specific payment methods and Apple’s fee structure for domestic app developers, are likely to undermine the law’s goal of promoting fair competition.

Both Google and Apple have responded to the KCC’s allegations. Google stated that it would carefully review and respond to the KCC’s final written decision. Apple disagreed with the KCC’s conclusions and reiterated its belief that its App Store changes comply with the Telecommunications Business Act.

This development highlights the ongoing scrutiny of tech giants’ practices in various countries and the potential financial repercussions they may face for alleged anticompetitive behavior.

Both Google and Apple have been accused of monopolizing the mobile app market before. In February, the Japan Fair Trade Commission announced the findings of its investigation into the mobile OS and app distribution service market in the country, saying Apple and Google’s businesses don’t face enough competition pressure. Additionally, in June, the Japanese government announced its plans to introduce new rules that will mandate Google and Apple to let developers use alternative payment systems other than theirs, in an effort to boost competition in the app payments market. 

Written by Gizem Yılmaz


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