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Korea to Investigate Apple and Google's In-App Purchase Practices

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Apr 12, 2001
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Last week, multiple startup companies in Korea called for an investigation into Apple and Google's in-app purchase practices. Now, The Korea Herald has confirmed that the Korean Ministry of Science and ITC will launch an investigation to look into the two companies' "excessive commissions."



The investigation will examine platform fees, payment systems, and whether Apple and Google have violated Korean laws that prohibit technology service operators from obstructing users to choose services.

Apple and Google made up 87.8 percent of the Korean app market in 2019, and the issue is effectively an antitrust investigation. The original petition submitted by an alliance of app developers and small companies argued that platform operators are using their immense market share to give developers no choice but to submit to high commission fees.

They explained that Apple has been forcing developers to use their specific in-app purchase system since 2011, through which Apple takes a 30 percent commission. Google demands game apps in Korea use its own in-app purchase module and adds an additional 30 percent game-only commission. Google reportedly plans to expand restrictions on developers, and demand a 30 percent commission on webtoons, music streaming, and e-books.

"[The ministry] will carefully monitor and prepare policies that can cope with the increasing influence of platform providers," a Ministry of Science and ITC spokesperson said. "The ministry will also mediate between developers and platform operators to secure user rights."

The ministry laid out plans to collect opinions from local app developers and smaller market sources to see if the companies' platform fees are unfairly hindering business operators and in turn raising prices for consumers.

The outcome of the investigation could be sweeping amendments to Korea's new Telecommunications Business Act, which takes effect in January.

Article Link: Korea to Investigate Apple and Google's In-App Purchase Practices
 

robertcoogan

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2008
642
905
Joshua Tree, California
Monopoly, duopoly etc. The word you are looking for is cartel. That’s what Apple and Google are running in the mobile space.

That's a load of garbage. If Apple and Google are cartels, then so is Microsoft and Sony. Why isn't S. Korea investigating them? They're all guilty of being greedy, but everyone (including Epic) are in the same game. Apple just needs to introduce a graduated system of fees, rather than their standard across-the-board 30%.
 
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involuntarheely

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2019
112
108
That's a load of garbage. If Apple and Google are cartels, then so is Microsoft and Sony. Why isn't S. Korea investigating them? They're all guilty of being greedy, but everyone (including Epic) are in the same game. Apple just needs to introduce a graduated system of fees, rather than their standard across-the-board 30%.
I don't think there needs to be communication between companies for a "cartel" to exist. but Apple and Google seem to be converging on similar policies, practices, devices, operating systems... they're copying each other in everything.
 
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Rafael Freitas

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2020
7
7
So Apple or Google is ever forced to let 3rd party payment systems in, when the customer gets ripped off or has a complaint who do you think the will call and blame, yep Apple and Google. Maybe they should just allow it to happen and let the shenanigans begin.
 
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auvxza

macrumors newbie
Aug 17, 2020
6
51
Good! Apple and Google are both price fixing, very anticompetitive! 30% of revenue before tax + 20% sales tax to the government, meaning 50% is already gone before they even get anything. Not to mention all of the other costs associated with creating an app (office, employees, equipment etc) means a lot of apps don't even have the chance to succeed without huge funding behind them. No wonder the most popular apps are instagram fb etc...
 
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willyx

macrumors member
Apr 25, 2014
90
354
So Apple or Google is ever forced to let 3rd party payment systems in, when the customer gets ripped off or has a complaint who do you think the will call and blame, yep Apple and Google. Maybe they should just allow it to happen and let the shenanigans begin.

That's a load of crap. If that's ever a problem, make apps include a disclaimer and that's it.
 
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Nuno Lopes

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2011
324
323
Lisbon, Portugal
how is it anti-competitive please explain ... You can create a web app and it will run perfectly fine on Safari. An app does not have to be in the App or Google Play Store. The 30% is with in like with all other app store including consoles.

Well. It does not. Safari does not support PWAs for instance.

Anyway it does look like the South Korean approach is more mature than the US. Look at market prices of the services embedded, market share so on and so forth. To have a sense of how the Conglomerate uses each business to ramp the prices up of the other and customer control. This is better than the US circus kind of approach.

Heck, you just need to go there and observe how far behind in tech the rest of the world is, including the US. It’s another world.
 
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LV426

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2013
1,082
633
how is it anti-competitive please explain ... You can create a web app and it will run perfectly fine on Safari. An app does not have to be in the App or Google Play Store. The 30% is with in like with all other app store including consoles.

That's silly. It's tantamount to saying Apple might as well close down the App Store.

Native apps and web apps typically do very different things. The most obvious difference is that most native apps will work whether or not you are connected to the internet.
 
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portland_bill

macrumors regular
Jul 31, 2020
114
208
Well. It does not. Safari does not support PWAs for instance.

I’ll get downvoted by some numbnit going out to bat for a double trillion dollar corp, but you are absolutely correct.

Apple does not support PWA’s. When I nixed my apps because of Apple’s increasingly grubby practices, I looked into PWA’s. Full support on Android so I’ve left one app up on the web. But not Apple.

if I had the inclination I’d start a class action against Apple for what appears to be no reason other than grubby corporate greed for defacto PWA standards not being supported by Apple.

It’s a blatant lie to say web apps are supported on iOS and needs to be called out anytime someone says it.
 
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Nuno Lopes

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2011
324
323
Lisbon, Portugal
I’ll get downvoted by some numbnit going out to bat for a double trillion dollar corp, but you are absolutely correct.

Apple does not support PWA’s. When I nixed my apps because of Apple’s increasingly grubby practices, I looked into PWA’s. Full support on Android so I’ve left one app up on the web. But not Apple.

if I had the inclination I’d start a class action against Apple for what appears to be no reason other than grubby corporate greed for defacto PWA standards not being supported by Apple.

It’s a blatant lie to say web apps are supported on iOS and needs to be called out anytime someone says it.

Yes. Also PWA is not a silver bullet. You can’t build Fortnite with PWA tech. You need to go native.
 
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mike2q

macrumors member
Mar 9, 2006
71
104
So Apple or Google is ever forced to let 3rd party payment systems in, when the customer gets ripped off or has a complaint who do you think the will call and blame, yep Apple and Google. Maybe they should just allow it to happen and let the shenanigans begin.

Wrong. Netflix has it's own payment system and if they rip me off I would blame them, not Apple or Google. People are doing mental gymnastics to avoid the truth that this is an anti consumer practice that needs to end. Authorities and experts all over the world can see it. Why can't you?
 
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mike2q

macrumors member
Mar 9, 2006
71
104
This topic is so complicated... I can see all the angles, and I cannot for the life of me decide the best solution. What I DO wish, is that we in the US had something called "The Ministry of Science." Whatever they told me, I'd do it, even if they were wrong. :p

Well Apple does seem to have an effective Ministry of Truth right now.
 
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Solomani

macrumors 601
Sep 25, 2012
4,085
8,785
Slapfish, North Carolina
Monopoly, duopoly etc. The word you are looking for is cartel. That’s what Apple and Google are running in the mobile space.

You mean like South Korea's Samsung? Do you even realize that the Koreans have an OFFICIAL word for what type of corporation Samsung is? It's chaebol in Korean. And it literally translates to conglomerate, cartel.

In the Old Days of the 20th century, there was another popular word for a family-owned cartel empire. That word was a "mafia". The SK government will gladly investigate and take action on Google and Apple, but Samsung has escaped scrutiny.... hmmm....


Wikipedia:

A chaebol (/ˈtʃeɪbɒl, ˈdʒɛbəl/[1][2], Korean: 재벌; lit. Rich family; Korean pronunciation: [tɕɛ̝.bʌl]) is a large industrial conglomerate that is run and controlled by an owner or family in South Korea.[2] A chaebol often consists of many diversified affiliates, controlled by an owner whose power over the group often exceeds legal authority.
 
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falainber

macrumors 68020
Mar 16, 2016
2,396
2,861
Wild West
You mean like South Korea's Samsung? Do you even realize that the Koreans have an OFFICIAL word for what type of corporation Samsung is? It's chaebol in Korean. And it literally translates to conglomerate, cartel.

In the Old Days of the 20th century, there was another popular word for a family-owned cartel empire. That word was a "mafia". The SK government will gladly investigate and take action on Google and Apple, but Samsung has escaped scrutiny.... hmmm....


Wikipedia:

A chaebol (/ˈtʃeɪbɒl, ˈdʒɛbəl/[1][2], Korean: 재벌; lit. Rich family; Korean pronunciation: [tɕɛ̝.bʌl]) is a large industrial conglomerate that is run and controlled by an owner or family in South Korea.[2] A chaebol often consists of many diversified affiliates, controlled by an owner whose power over the group often exceeds legal authority.
And yet, Apple operates in Korea just fine, so what's this "chaebol" is about then? Perhaps with globalization, it's not really an issue anymore?
 
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jlc1978

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2009
3,102
1,363
Apple should just unbundle its pricing. Charge up front for review. Charge a fixed fee per download. Charge for hosting. Charge for analytics and advertising the app. Let them use a third party payment system but charge the unbundled fees each month and price based on what an IAP or subscription costs. the could also still offer a flat 30% cut if a developer wants it.
 
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acctman

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2012
1,187
747
Georgia
That's silly. It's tantamount to saying Apple might as well close down the App Store.

Native apps and web apps typically do very different things. The most obvious difference is that most native apps will work whether or not you are connected to the internet.

Native or Web your app will still run on iOS so a dev has options. I have had two apps in the App Store and was fine with the 70% its money i could not have made if my app was just on the web with no central play to market / sell it. What percentage do you think Apple and Google should get for hosting, supporting, marketing, and payment processing of an App?
 
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