Googles Abuse Prevention Act has been applied in Korea, but there are guidelines for external payment… Exceptions in case of non-compliance Google has notified apps that do not comply with their in-app purchase compulsory policy to delete them from Google Play from June 1st.
In Korea, in accordance with the Google In-App Purchase Compulsory Prevention Act, which took effect on the 15th, it is impossible to enforce in-app purchases. However, you must follow Googles guidelines for applying third-party payments to apps separately. If this is not followed, measures such as app deletion will be applied. Domestic platform companies centered on webtoon and web novel platforms are in crisis.
Google has warned that apps that do not comply with their IAP policies may be removed from Google Play starting June 1st. [Photo = Google Play Console Help Center]
According to the industry on the 18th, Google announced a detailed policy for the Google Play payment system through an updated notice on the Play Console customer center on the 17th. In the notice, Google said that developers who do not comply with the payment policy will not be able to submit app updates until April 1, unless the update is required to address important security issues, until the app complies with the policy. It also mentioned that all apps that do not comply with the policy will be removed from Google Play.
Earlier, when Google first announced the policy to make in-app purchases mandatory in 2020, after a one-year grace period, from September 30, 2021, Google announced that it would fully expand in-app purchases beyond game apps to digital content apps. However, due to backlash from the IT industry, Google decided to give an additional grace period of six months to app developers who meet certain qualifications.
Googles grace period will end on March 31st. However, by announcing this notice ahead of the end of the grace period, Google made it clear that Google has no plans to suspend the mandatory in-app payment. As soon as the grace period is over, Google not only threatened to restrict updates from app developers, but also took out a deletion card after June, showing a strong attitude towards their in-app payment policy.
An example of a payment method interface when Google announced the implementation of third-party payment in Korea last year. It is noteworthy that Google In-App Purchase and third-party payment are placed side by side in the same size. [Picture=Google Developer Blog]
The problem is that these policies have a big impact on domestic app developers as well. As the Google In-App Purchase Compulsory Prevention Act came into effect on the 15th, Google cannot only enforce In-App Purchases in Korea. However, in November of last year, Google notified Korean app developers that the UI should be reorganized so that in-app payment and third-party payment were equally exposed at the payment stage. In other words, it is necessary to change the way that the third-party payment system is integrated into Googles existing payment system within the app. If you use a third-party payment, you will have to pay a 6-26% fee, which is 4%p lower than in-app payment.
As such, high fees are still high even with third-party payment, so app developers argue that Google should allow payments outside of the app, that is, on the web page. In this case, there is no need to pay the fee Google requires because it does not use Googles payment system. The reason that the Korea Communications Commission recently reinforced some of the enforcement ordinances on the In-App Payment Compulsory Prevention Act is to lay the groundwork for making this possible. By adding the expression “access” to the types of prohibited acts listed in the Enforcement Decree and Standard No. 8, it was defined as a prohibited act not only for the act of using a specific payment method, but also for the part that made the act of access inconvenient.
Currently, a number of digital content apps, including Naver Webtoon and Kakao Page, open a separate web page when making a payment, and payment is made through a third-party payment method. However, it is known that Google is adhering to its position that it allows third-party payments but cannot concede this type of web payment. Because of this, even though the grace period is almost over, most app developers are still hesitant to update their apps according to Googles guidelines.
In this situation, as Google discusses not only stopping the update but also deleting the app, the troubles of domestic app developers are likely to deepen. In particular, it is reported that large platforms such as Naver and Kakao heard the news and their feet went out. An industry official said that if they did not follow their guidelines, the action to delete the app would ultimately be an act of violating the In-App Purchase Compulsory Prevention Act, and in fact, it would tame the app developers.