As expected, the South Korean legislature on Tuesday passed a new law that exempts iOS and Android mobile app developers from the 30 percent tax on the App Store and Google Play, as well as in-app transaction fees. The law is expected to be signed into law by President Moon Jae-in soon.
The aforementioned app stores around the world charge developers 30% for every in-app transaction made by a user, although Apple and Google last year lowered the fee to 15% for smaller developers with little income.
One of the biggest opponents of app store fees has been Epic Games, the developer of the popular video game Fortnite, as well as Spotify, which competes directly with music offerings from Apple and Google. Last year, Epic introduced its own payment system, violating the rules of Apple and Google, which is why Fortnite was removed from the app stores. Epic has sued the two companies in separate lawsuits that are still ongoing.
On Twitter, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney called South Korea’s law «an important milestone in the 45-year history of personal computing,» noting that the country «rejected monopolies in digital commerce and recognized open platform rights.»
Apple also said the law would expose users «to the risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage purchases,» and undermine parental controls on its platform. The company said it has 482,000 registered developers in South Korea who have earned more than $7.3 billion from its platform to date. Google said the commission «reduces the cost of devices for consumers and allows both platforms and developers to achieve financial success.»