Google Play Will Let Developers Use Alternative Billing Systems in South Korea, While Apple Has Yet to Make Changes

The South Korean government recently passed a law that bans Apple and Google from requiring developers to use their in-app purchase systems in the App Store and Google Play respectively, and Google has now announced changes to comply with the law.

google play alternative billing
In a blog post, Google said it will be giving developers the option to add an alternative in-app billing system alongside the Play Store's billing system for Android smartphone and tablet users in South Korea. Google said the users will be able to choose which billing system to use at checkout, as seen in the example image above, and the company plans to provide developers with more details "in the coming weeks and months."

Google still plans to charge a service fee on in-app purchases completed through an alternative billing system, but it will reduce the fee by four percentage points. For the "vast majority" of developers, this means the fee will drop from 15% for transactions through Google Play's billing system to 11% for transactions through an alternate billing system.

"Like any business, we need to have a sustainable model to continue to improve our products while maintaining important user protections," said Google, in explaining why it charges a service fee on the Google Play store. "Just as it costs developers money to build an app, it costs us money to build and maintain an operating system and app store that makes those apps easily and safely accessible by consumers."

Google also warned that alternative billing systems may not offer the same security and privacy protections as Google Play's billing system.

Apple meanwhile has yet to make any changes to App Store billing in South Korea. The company previously said the law "will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, [and] make it difficult to manage their purchases," while making parental controls less effective.

In October, Apple told the South Korean government that it was "already in compliance with the new law and did not need to change its app store policy," according to Reuters. We've reached out to Apple for comment and we'll update this story if we hear back.

Top Rated Comments

btrach144 Avatar
30 months ago
“In October, Apple told the South Korean government that it was "already in compliance with the new law and did not need to change its app store policy”

Isn’t that a straight up lie?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
30 months ago
Hopefully Apple will follow Google. It’s just a matter of time.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Altivec88 Avatar
30 months ago
If Google charges a fee of their choosing, I don't see how this accomplishes anything. Apple should do the same thing but charge the same 15% they always do. Technically, they will have multiple payment systems that follows the law. The only difference is that you pay more to use something else. lol. I think these laws are nonsense. These are Googles and Apples store and OS, they have the right to charge what they want and people have the right to buy their devices or not. Governments should stay out of the market place.

With Google' solution, their 11% plus the other payment provider mark up will generally be the same cost as just using Google's payment method. Anyone that would take the risk of using the other payment methods without saving any money is crazy.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ebarella Avatar
30 months ago

“In October, Apple told the South Korean government that it was "already in compliance with the new law and did not need to change its app store policy”

Isn’t that a straight up lie?
That's why the "we follow local laws" excuse is terrible. Yes, when it comes to remove dissident apps or the Quran, not when it affects profits
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Scrip Avatar
30 months ago

Apple and Google have created a situation where they are a duopoly.
Apple and Google didn't create a situation. In fact... they were LATE to the smartphone game.

There were PLENTY of platforms before them. Big ones, too. Symbian, Palm, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, etc.

But those other guys couldn't survive.

You could say it was those other guys' FAILURES that created a duopoly.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dwaite Avatar
30 months ago

Saying go do your payments, but we are still going to charge you 11%....even though we did nothing as a middle man in the transaction, goes against the spirit of the laws and regulations being passed and discussed.... I can only see this backfiring and causing more strict regulation.
A transaction that was initiated because of an application built on top of Google Play services, being sold under an agreement with Google Play which includes an agreement around proceeds on initial app sale and on subscriptions and one-time purchases made within the app.

The "no middleman" alternative is to not use Google Play services, not list on Google Play, and do your own marketing/listing to convince users to side-load your app.

The reality is that 'small developers' are going to get little direct value from going outside the Play store. What you'll see is:

* alternative stores with varying degrees of success and varying fee structures
* large companies pushing to side-load apps both to realize more of the revenue and to work around any business restrictions in the store agreement.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
Google maps feaure

Google Maps Finally Rolls Out Glanceable Directions

Wednesday February 28, 2024 2:07 am PST by
After more than a year since announcing the feature, Google Maps is finally rolling out glanceable directions on Android and iOS (via Android Police). The feature allows users to view turn-by-turn directions and a live ETA directly from their device's lock screen – information that was previously only visible when a phone was unlocked. Glanceable directions also work on the app's route...
iPad Air 5

iPadOS 18 Rumored to Drop Support for These iPad Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:55 am PST by
iPadOS 18 will drop support for iPad models equipped with the A10X Fusion chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS and iPadOS updates. This means that iPadOS 18 would not be compatible with the first-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro or the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released in 2017. It...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
M3 MacBook Air Feature

New MacBook Air Models Launching Next Month: 5 Features to Expect

Wednesday February 28, 2024 1:50 am PST by
The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived in June 2023, which is not that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the current 13-inch ‌MacBook Air back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current crop, having not been updated in 600 days. But rumors suggest that is unlikely to be the case for much longer. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has...
iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Month's iOS 17.4 Update

Tuesday February 27, 2024 8:18 am PST by
Apple will next month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...