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Apple and Google face $50.5 million in fines from South Korea

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) has issued a warning to Apple and Google regarding their dominant app market position. The telecommunications regulator has threatened to impose fines totaling $50.5 million on both tech giants. The KCC accused Apple and Google of pressuring app developers to use specific payment methods and causing delays in app reviews, which they deemed unfair. The South Korean statement stated that corrective actions must be taken by the companies, or they will face fines.

Google responded to the KCC’s announcement by stating, “What KCC has shared today is the ‘pre-notice,’ and we will carefully review and submit our response. Once the final written decision is shared with us, we will carefully evaluate the next steps.” Apple also issued a statement expressing disagreement with the KCC’s conclusions and highlighting their compliance with the Telecommunications Business Act. They emphasized their commitment to engaging with the KCC to communicate their perspective.

In 2021, South Korea passed an amendment to the Telecommunication Business Act, aiming to prohibit app store operators from mandating the use of their own payment systems. The KCC argued that Google and Apple’s enforcement of specific payment methods, along with Apple’s discriminatory fee charging to domestic app developers, goes against the law’s objective of promoting fair competition.

As the KCC’s investigation progresses, Apple and Google will have to address the concerns raised and potentially face the imposed fines. It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold, but it is clear that the issue of dominant app market positions is gaining more attention globally.

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