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South Korea seeks improved compliance plans from Apple, Google on app store law

SEOUL (CNA) – South Korea’s telecommunications regulator wants better compliance plans from Apple Inc and Alphabet’s Google before finalising rules for a law banning app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payments systems, officials said yesterday.

South Korea passed the law, an amendment to the Telecommunication Business Act, last year. The rules, due to be drawn up by March 15 and called the enforcement ordinance, will lay out what constitutes compliance with the law.

Although the ordinance has not been finalised, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) believes that a compliance plan Apple submitted “still lacks concrete detail”, a KCC official told a news agency.

The KCC was in contact with Apple representatives for a more detailed compliance plan that goes beyond the general intention of allowing alternative payment systems, the official said.

As for Google’s plan, the official said the KCC was aware of the concern over Google’s planned policy of only reducing its service charge to developers by four percentage points when users choose an alternative billing system, and the regulator is waiting for additional information from Google.

“As a result of any policy, if app developers find it realistically difficult to use an alternative payment system and resort to using the dominant app store operator’s payment system, it would not fit the law’s purpose,” the official said, adding that this stance would likely be reflected in the final ordinance.

The official, who is not authorised to speak to media, declined to be identified. Apple and Google did not have an immediate response.

People walk along a commercial street in Seoul. PHOTO: AFP