Mobile app stores have been the topic of controversy for the past several months, and today, a major milestone is being hit. South Korea has just ruled that Google and Apple will be required to allow for alternate payment systems in the Play Store and App Store in the country.

A bill passed today will require app store providers, including Google and Apple, to allow developers to utilize alternate payment systems within the country. The bill, the first of its kind, will apparently be signed into law as soon as September. The action is expected to trigger similar actions in other countries around the world.

Notably, this comes just before Google was set to make its payment system and 30% commission mandatory for the Play Store in South Korea starting in October, with the country having been exempt from the policy for years, as Bloomberg points out. That policy change has been largely seen as a reason that this legislation has come to pass.

In a statement, Google explains that it will “share more in the coming weeks” as it looks into how to comply with the order.

Google Play provides far more than payment processing, and our service fee helps keep Android free, giving developers the tools and global platform to access billions of consumers around the world. We’ll reflect on how to comply with this law while maintaining a model that supports a high-quality operating system and app store, and we will share more in the coming weeks.

Apple, meanwhile, said that the law would “undermine” the App Store’s privacy protections and make other features such as Parental Controls less effective.

This comes as, in the US, Google is currently fighting a lawsuit from US states, which regards how the Play Store and its commission rate is handled. Just this week, court documents have revealed that Google’s transaction costs for the Play Store are as low as 2% and that Google offered Netflix a special deal after the streaming giant expressed problems with the 30% commission.

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Ben Schoon

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