Play Store Commission: South Korea opens antitrust investigation on Google

by bold-lichterman

South Korea has opened a competition investigation into Google after the US giant’s decision to enforce the 30% commission on transactions made through its Play Store, a senior official said on Thursday. Google has always required that purchases of applications offered in its virtual store Play Store be made through its payment system, which charges a commission of 30% as does its competitor Apple.

Until then, the American giant has, however, been lax regarding compliance with this rule, unlike Apple which finds itself in the heart of a legal battle with Epic Games, the publisher of the Fortnite game, which tried to circumvent the iOS payment system and therefore Apple commissions. Last month, Google announced that a stricter policy would take effect next year. It aims to oblige developers who distribute their applications via its download platform, the Google Play Store, to also use its payment system, and therefore to pay 30% commission on consumers’ digital transactions.

“Restore competition”

Less than 3% of publishers who own apps on the Play Store would not use the Google Play payment system. This announcement, however, was rejected by South Korean application developers who believe that this will allow Google to collect a commission that they consider too high. Joh Sung-wook, chairman of the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), said Thursday that the Google project is under investigation for possible “anti-competitive practices’. “Competition does not function properly in this sector ”, she told MPs. “We are looking for anti-competitive practices in order to restore competition ”, said Ms. Joh.

The remarks come nearly a month after the request to open an investigation into the policy change announced by Google. It was filed by South Korean companies in the technology news sector, including Naver, the country’s largest internet portal. In 2019, in South Korea, sales on the Google Play Store represented 63.4% of total application sales, followed by the Apple App Store which represented 24.4%, according to the association. Korean cell phone professionals and interns.