South Korea Approves New IAP Law

Posted on September 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Apple, Google, iOS, Mobile with 4 Comments

As expected, South Korea has approved the Telecommunications Business Act, which will require Apple and Google to offer third-party payment methods to developers. Of all the regulatory action we’ve seen against these firms so far, this marks only the second time that substantive changes will be required of this mobile duopoly. And yet, it’s not hard to imagine how each will be able to stall and work around the requirement.

To be clear—and I have to be, since so many readers clearly misunderstand the issue and what’s happening here—this change will not impact end-users, at least not directly, in the slightest. And any changes that do occur because of this change will only have positive results, for users and for developers.

Forcing Apple, Google, and others to allow third-party payment systems hits at only one of these firms’ many abuses, but it’s important to chip away at their dominance where possible so that the other abuses can likewise fall in the future. The problem, of course, is that Apple and Google will be able to work around this requirement. The most obvious way would be to support third-party payment systems only in South Korea, which would be a burden to developers and not Apple, and could lead to some developers just not offering apps there. That seems like the obvious move.

(The first major change to Apple’s and Google’s dominance came last summer when both firms dropped the fees for developers that make less than $1 million per year to just 15 percent, from 30 percent. This change impacts most developers, of course, and so it was a smart PR move that doesn’t impact Apple’s revenues in the slightest.)

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “South Korea Approves New IAP Law”

  1. toukale

    Are we under the impression anything is going to change or that Apple and Google will somehow not get their money. Because if some think that is the case then they are mistaken. This will change nothing at the end, but create more work for the platform owners and developers. Apple and Google will now give developers the option of either keep things as is or chose alternative payment but then paid for every resources of the platform they use. They will start charging for everything, want access to api, $, want access to our libraries $, want to submit your app for review to be listed on the appstore $, bandwidth $, storage $. At the end of the day, they will still get their money and only create more work and hurdles for the developers for little to no gain. They only way Google and Apple will not get their money is to not be on their platform.

    • nbplopes

      Will see. But hey, maybe Cloud services like AWS, Google owns and Azure got it all wrong. They should instead ask for 30% revenue of every single customers of theirs.

  2. John Craig

    Any move by any government to de-monopolise the Apple/Google stranglehold they have on the mobile market is a welcome move indeed.


    Its not enough that they own the market, but they ruthlessly destroy other companies to maintain their dominance. They have no sense of fairness and take full advantage of the fact that they've built such high walls in their mobile gardens that no one can compete.


    Its very bad for consumers. Imagine a world where you only had two brands of car to choose from? Competition is needed to keep markets fair, and Apple/Google have destroyed that fairness.


    If app stores become decentralised, it will give entrepreneurs an opportunity to set up their own app stores, which will be available on all operating systems, including Windows.


    Each app store would essentially be a shopping mall, vying to host the best shops with low rates and rents.


    True competition.


    Screw Apple and Google

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