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Bill To Curb Google And Apple’s Commission Dominance Passed By South Korean Parliament Committee

Bill To Curb Google And Apple’s Commission Dominance Passed By South Korean Parliament Committee
A unanimous recommendation to pass a key law was made by a South Korean parliamentary committee which effectively bans Google and Apple from charging a commission mandatorily from software developers of all the in-app purchases made. This is the first occasion that any country has imposed such a curb on thee tech  giants.
The new regulations called Telecommunications Business Act, and popularly being called the "Anti-Google law", is to face a final voting in the parliament following the voting from the legislation and judiciary committee to amend the Act.
According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, the date for the voting in the parliament on the new bill could be placed later this month or next onth even though there were reports of it being passed this week itself.
According to a report from the news agency Reuters quoting a parliament official, no official request not to hold the meeting soon had been received by the office.
In recent times, there have been criticisms globally of the business practices of the two companies in question as both the companies have made it mandatory for software developers to use proprietary in-app payment systems while they use the app stores of the companies. They charge a commission up to 30 per cent of transactions or sales made through app stores.
The bill "will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections", Apple said in a statement on Tuesday about the bill and added that the new Act will also hurt user trust in App Store purchases and reduce the opportunities for app developers of South Korea.
"The rushed process hasn't allowed for enough analysis of the negative impact of this legislation on Korean consumers and app developers", said Wilson White, senior director of public policy at Google.
Creating secure payment methods different from the ones that the two companies currently offer could be one of the ways for resolving the issue in consultation with developers and other companies, say legal experts.
"Google and Apple aren't the only ones that can create a secure payment system," said Lee Hwang, a Korea University School of Law professor specialising in competition law. "I think it's a problem to try to inspire excessive fear by talking about safety or security about using different payment methods."
The new regulation effectively prevent those app store operators that have a dominant market position to force payment systems on content providers and "inappropriately" cause delays in reviewing of, or deleting, mobile contents from app markets, showed data from South Korean parliament records.
The new regulation will also give the power to the South Korean government to mandate that an app market operator should "prevent damage to users and protect the rights and interests of users", as well as conducting investigations into market operations of app operators, and make interventions in disputed related to regarding payment, cancellations or refunds in the app market.
A new bill that would rein in app stores of companies was introduced by a bipartisan trio of senators in the United States earlier this month. The Senators argued that such app stores exert too much market control. These included the apps stores of Apple and Google.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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