South Korea will soon pass a law banning Apple’s and Google’s app store payment requirements. An amendment to South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act will stop app store owners from requiring developers to use in-house payment systems. The law also bans app store owners from unreasonably delaying the approval of apps or deleting them from the marketplace, which the country fears is used as a method of retaliation. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the law has passed South Korea’s National Assembly (the country’s Congress equivalent), and President Moon Jae-in is expected to sign the bill into law.
In the rest of the world, Apple and Google get a 30 percent cut of most app purchases, in-app sales, and subscriptions, and the companies don’t allow developers to use alternative payment options. Once the bill passes in South Korea, app developers will be free to search for a payments provider that offers them the best deal. Google’s and Apple’s stores do provide some benefits, like user authentication for purchases, friction-free purchases thanks to stored payment information, and easy data hosting and distribution for digital goods. If developers don’t need any of those things or are willing to roll their own solutions, standard credit card processors usually only take a 1-3 percent cut of sales.
The Verge received statements from both Google and Apple. A Google spokesperson told the site, “Just as it costs developers money to build an app, it costs us money to build and maintain an operating system and app store. We’ll reflect on how to comply with this law while maintaining a model that supports a high-quality operating system and app store, and we will share more in the coming weeks.”