Apple and Google face huge fines from South Korea

On October 6, South Korea’s telecom regulator said that Apple and Alphabet’s Google had abused their dominant position in the app market and proposed to fine them up to 68 billion won.

The two tech giants forced app developers to use specific payment methods and caused unfair app review delays, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said in a statement. The KCC is notifying the companies to take corrective measures and will consider the fines, the statement said.

In 2021, South Korea passed an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Act that prohibits app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payment systems.

The KCC said that Google and Apple’s enforcement of certain payment methods, as well as Apple’s “discriminatory charges against Korean app developers,” could undermine the Act’s purpose of promoting fair competition.A KCC official said that by harshly penalizing large carriers such as Google and Apple for taking advantage of their dominant position, it could create a healthy environment for the a healthy environment in the apps market.

The KCC said that after hearing from the two companies, the regulator may decide to fine them up to 68 billion won, including 47.5 billion won for Google and 20.5 billion won for Apple.

In response, Google reportedly said, “The KCC issued a ‘pre-notice’ today, and we will carefully review and submit a response. If we receive a final written decision, we will evaluate our next course of action.”

Apple also said in its response to the media, “We disagree with the conclusions made by the KCC in its report, the changes we have implemented to the App Store are in line with the relevant provisions of Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act, and we will, as always, keep in touch with the KCC and feel free to share our views.”