Korean Startups Call for Investigation into Apple and Google In-App Purchases

Multiple startup companies in Korea are calling for an investigation into Apple and Google's in-app purchase practices, reports The Korea Herald.

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An alliance of app developers and small companies submitted a petition to the Korea Communications Commission earlier today, asking for an investigation into whether Apple and Google may be violating Korean laws on in-app purchases and anti-competitive behavior.

They explain that Apple has been forcing developers to use their specific in-app purchase system since 2011, through which Apple takes a 30 percent commission. Google demands game apps in Korea use its own in-app purchase module and adds an additional game-only commission.

"While the 30 percent commission rate is too high in itself, it is more problematic that they force a specific payment system for the app markets," said Choi Sung-jin, President of the Korea Startup Forum.

Sung-jin added that while large developers may be able to negotiate lower rates of commission with platform providers, it is out of reach to smaller developers and startups who cannot afford to do so. Moreover, they fear that setting about a negotiation could eventually lead to a hike in in-app purchase commissions.

Apple and Google made up 87.8 percent of the Korean app market in 2019, and the issue is effectively an antitrust dispute. The Korean offices of Apple and Google did not provide a comment.

Tech companies are coming under fire in antitrust complaints around the world, with investigations underway in the U.S., the EU, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Russia. Companies such as Microsoft, Spotify, Airbnb, and Epic Games have also joined calls for greater control over app store terms and rates of commission.

Top Rated Comments

Anaxarxes Avatar
17 months ago

As much as I love Apple, I'm very glad that their monopolistic position gets investigated. Developers simply do not have a choice. Sure they can neglect the Apple App Store but that means they're missing out on a lot of sales.

Something has to be done.

In an ideal situation Apple should allow third party stores and services. They could make it so that these stores first have to comply to a set of rules and have their code checked.
I support the investigations, too. But I am against the 3rd party app stores, period.

I choose Apple for their emphasis on privacy and keeping the Ecosystem clean and tidy for the best user experience. I understand that some feel differently and that's why there are other ecosystems/platforms to choose.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Koudspeel Avatar
17 months ago
As much as I love Apple, I'm very glad that their monopolistic position gets investigated. Developers simply do not have a choice. Sure they can neglect the Apple App Store but that means they're missing out on a lot of sales.

Something has to be done.

In an ideal situation Apple should allow third party stores and services. They could make it so that these stores first have to comply to a set of rules and have their code checked.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anaxarxes Avatar
17 months ago
Let's entertain the whole economy with this:

I want a Tesla but I want a V8. This is anti-competitive, why should I have to choose an electric Motor. I want Tesla's Tech but with a ICE. What#s gonna happen?

I want HBO content but I want it on Netflix. Why should I buy HBO subscription for only one content? I want to watch the Irishman on Amazon Prime. What is gonna happen?

I want Final Cut Pro X on Windows. Why should I have to buy a mac for it?

This is endless and nonsense.

Stick to the monopoly part and adjust the charges/fees down from 30% if needed but do not force everything outside the ecosystem into it. This is not OK.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
willyx Avatar
17 months ago

I would never in a million years use some random in-app credit card service to buy something. These developers are dreaming if they think people will use anything other then Apple to pay for things in their apps.
Yeah, sure. As if people did not pay for tenths of things outside the App Store using a myriad of platforms for payment without even noticing. I know you want to defend Apple at all costs but these arguments are getting ridiculous.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jaworskimatt Avatar
17 months ago

Developers simply do not have a choice.
We (the devs) have much more choice than we had before iPhone was released. They are just a bunch of entitled crybabies ??‍♂️
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Riffz60 Avatar
17 months ago
This is getting silly.

Apple produces the hardware for these apps to run on.

They also produce the OS the apps run on.

They provide the storefront for these apps to be hosted on. Allowing the storefront to deal with the payment, distribution and customer service for the purchase of these apps.

if a company wants to produce software for running on these specific devices they can understand and agree to these terms.

If they think this is anti competitive they can put their software somewhere else.

Everyone on the App Store is on a level playing field. If you don’t think you’re getting enough then you’re not pricing your apps appropriately.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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