Apple and Google could be on the hook for $50.5 million fine in Korea

The KCC has sought remediation after accusing the two companies of anti-competitive practices on mobile

Apple and Google could be on the hook for $50.5 million fine in Korea

Mobile and search-engine giants Apple and Google respectively, have been warned of a potential $50.5m fine from the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) due to anti-competitive practices.

According to the KCC, both Apple and Google have violated new laws introduced in 2021 which were made to prevent app developers being forced into using specific payment methods. App developers were allegedly made to use the company’s proprietary payment systems rather than competitors, with review processes delayed in order to enforce compliance.

A fine of this nature would not be the first action taken by Korean regulators against major players in the mobile market. Google was hit with a $32m fine in April for allegedly stifling the business of local competitor One Store. However, this move represents a continued, multi-pronged assault by Korean regulators to force compliance by the two tech giants.

Is Korea hostile territory for Apple and Google?

Across the globe, tech giants such as Apple and Google have increasingly invited regulatory scrutiny. Decades of market dominance has meant that, while they have a remarkable degree of control over their mobile ecosystems, that they also have a target painted on their backs as the market grows ever larger.

With changes such as Apple’s ditching of their proprietary charging cables due to EU regulations and the increasing number of fines from South Korean regulators, it seems that Apple and Google’s good times could be coming to an end.

This does not necessarily mean that we’ll see Apple and Google recede in prominence. However, it does indicate that restrictive measures such as payment compliance will open the door to other stores and this will create a more friendly atmosphere for developers looking to operate outside of the legacy systems.

That’s not to say that South Korean regulators themselves have escaped scrutiny. The Game Rating and Administration Commission (GRAC) saw a corruption investigation after it emerged that wide-scale embezzlement had been taking place at the body.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.