South Korea’s telecommunications regulator, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), announced on Friday its intention to levy fines totaling up to 68 billion won (approximately $50.42 million) against US-based tech giants Google and Apple. The fines are in response to alleged violations of the country’s in-app payment laws.
In August 2022, the KCC initiated an investigation into Google Play and the App Store, focusing on their enforcement of specific in-app payment methods and other perceived irregularities related to app developers.
Upon completing the investigation, the commission determined fines of 47.5 billion won for Google and 20.5 billion won for Apple, citing violations of South Korea’s revised Telecommunications Business Act. The KCC contended that both companies had abused their monopoly power by compelling local publishers to use designated billing systems and unjustifiably delaying app reviews.
Additionally, the commission found fault with Apple’s policy of imposing fees on domestic app developers, deeming it a discriminatory practice. The KCC urged both companies to implement corrective measures, emphasizing the seriousness of their actions and their potential to impede fair market competition.
The commission intends to finalize the fines after soliciting input from the companies and following due deliberation procedures.
South Korea made history in 2021 by passing legislation prohibiting app store operators from imposing in-app payment systems on developers, becoming the first country to implement such regulations affecting Apple and Google.
Google responded to the KCC’s announcement, expressing its ongoing commitment to compliance with the new law while ensuring a safe and high-quality user experience through alternative billing methods.
Apple contested the commission’s findings, emphasizing its collaborative efforts with local app developers and contributions to building a robust local app ecosystem in South Korea. The company pledged to continue engaging with the KCC to communicate its perspectives on the matter.