South Korean Bill That Could Allow Third-Party Payment Methods on the App Store Gains Support Ahead of Vote

A bill that could require Apple and Google to allow third-party payment methods on their respective app stores in South Korea is gaining support ahead of a vote on the issue.

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The bill proposes an amendment to the existing Telecommunications Business Act, which would bar Apple, Google, and any other company that operates its own app distribution platform, from forcing developers to use a specific payment method. Apple requires that all apps on the App Store use its own payment method for in-app purchases, which gives the company a 30% commission.

That 30% cut and restrictions on developers that prevent them from using third-party payment methods has been a significant point of contention between Apple and other companies. The Coalition for App Fairness, which consists of Epic Games, Spotify, and Match Group, has voiced their support for the bill in South Korea.

As reported by the Yonhap News Agency, the founder of the Collation for App Fairness and the senior vice president for the Match Group, which operates Tinder, met with officials in the South Korean Democratic Party to express their support for the bill. As per the report:

Mark Buse, Match Group’s senior vice president and a founding member of the Coalition for App Fairness, met ruling Democratic Party lawmakers at the National Assembly supporting the bill.

Buse expressed support for the bill, adding that it could spur more action from U.S. lawmakers. Similar movement has so far been made at a state level in the United States in around 15 states, according to Buse.

Apple has pushed back firmly against any measures that would open up its users to third-payment methods. In an interview earlier this year, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said that allowing third-payment methods on the ‌App Store‌ would turn the platform into a “flea market,” noting that customers usually tend to have a low trust level for such markets.

The bill will first be reviewed by the Legislation and Judiciary Committee before being voted upon in the National Assembly.

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