Last September, South Korea’s National Assembly
passed a new law prohibiting Apple, Google and other companies that operate app stores from forcing developers to use their payment systems for in-app purchases.
Google was quick to comply with the law, but Apple said it didn’t need to make any changes because it already met the relevant requirements – a position that was challenged by Korean lawmakers.
Oddly, the company had previously sounded a warning about the possible negative consequences of the law for users and developers.
“The [law] will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, [and] make it difficult to manage their purchases,” Apple said in a statement.
“We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this proposal – leading to fewer opportunities for the over 482,000 registered developers in Korea.”
But Apple now appears to have thrown in the towel. The
Korea Herald reports that the company will adapt to the new rules and start allowing alternative payment systems.
Apple will charge a reduced “service fee” to developers who choose to handle their own payments. But while we know it will be lower than the normal 30% the company does not reveal exactly what that fee will be, or when the changes will be implemented.
“We look forward to working with the [Korean Competition Commission] and our developer community on a solution that benefits our Korean users,” Apple said in a statement.
“Apple has a great deal of respect for Korea’s laws and a strong history of collaboration with the country’s talented app developers. Our work will always be guided by keeping the App Store a safe and trusted place for our users to download the apps they love.”
It remains to be seen whether South Korea’s move sets a precedent for lawmakers around the world, given the
growing pressure on the App Store and its rules.
This article originally appeared on
Macworld Sweden. Translation (using
DeepL) and additional reporting by David Price.