As expected, a South Korean parliamentary committee voted on legislative amendments that would restrict Apple and Google from charging fees for purchases made by mobile app users. Such a precedent, which directly affects the profits of technology giants, is the first in history.

Image: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Apple and Google have been criticized for forcing app developers to use certain payment services that charge a 30% fee for completed transactions. In response to the decision by the South Korean authorities, Apple said that the new bill * «will expose users who purchase digital goods from other sources to the risk of fraud, as well as undermine privacy protections». The company also noted that the government’s initiative could undermine user confidence in shopping in the App Store and lead to a decrease in opportunities available to South Korean developers. Commenting on the issue, Google’s director of public policy, Wilson White, said that * «a hasty decision will not allow us to assess the extent of the bill’s negative impact on Korean consumers and app developers».

According to experts, digital content store operators are able to ensure the security of third-party payment systems by collaborating with developers and other companies for this purpose. *»Google and Apple aren’t the only ones who can create a secure payment system,» says Lee Hwan, a professor at Korea University’s School of Law. The experts also noted that South Korea has one of the strongest legal protection mechanisms for online transactions in the world.

Once the law comes into force, market-dominant digital content store operators will no longer be able to impose their own payment systems on content providers. The law will also prohibit *’improperly’* postponing viewing or deleting content from online stores, and will give South Korean authorities more power to resolve disputes regarding payment, cancellation of transactions, or refunds in digital content stores. The final vote of Parliament on the adoption of this bill will take place on 30 August.