Apple's App Store Practices Again to Be Investigated in South Korea, Despite Change to Allow Third-Party Payment Systems
Apple is to again be investigated by South Korea's telecommunications regulator, alongside Google and One Store, over suspected violations of in-app payment rules.
In a statement (via Reuters), the Korea Communications Commissions (KCC) said that it conducted an inspection of Apple, Google, and One Store since May 17 to determine if they have violated in-app payment laws, and concluded that all three companies may have done so. Such contraventions could include unfairly delaying the review of mobile content, or refusing, delaying, restricting, deleting, or blocking the registration, renewal, or inspection of mobile content that uses third-party payment methods.
If the new probe discovers malpractice, the KCC may issue correction orders and impose fines up to as high as two percent of the average annual revenue from relevant business practices, but there is as yet little detail on the specific violations of the law the regulator suspects may have occurred.
In January, Apple announced that it would comply with a new South Korean law that bans app store operators from requiring developers to use their own in-app purchase systems. In late June, the change came into effect, enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems in South Korea.
It is unclear exactly why Apple is under investigation, given that it now allows developers to offer third-party payment systems on the South Korean App Store. One explanation could be that the KCC deems Apple to have taken too long to comply with the change in the law, since it came into effect in March, but Apple only began informing developers that they could use third-party payment systems in late June.