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Japan to open up Apple- and Google-dominated phone apps to competition

CNA – Japan plans to stoke competition in smartphone app payments, dominated by Apple and Google, by banning major app store operators from forcing software developers to use the operators’ own payment systems, a government panel said.

The final report by the panel, released on Friday, also said major suppliers of smartphone operating systems (OS) should be obliged to offer users alternative ways to obtain apps in a secure manner other than their own app stores. Apple’s iOS and Android from Alphabet’s Google roughly split Japan’s mobile OS market.

Apple allows users to download iPhone apps only through its own app store, while both Apple and Google require software developers to use proprietary payment systems that charge commissions of up to 30 per cent.

The report said that necessary legislative measures will be looked into next, while the Asahi Shimbun daily reported yesterday the government aims to submit a related bill to parliament as early as next year.

Members of the government panel include Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and Economy Minister Shigeyuki Goto.

Apple logo at one of its store. PHOTO: CNA