Korean Startups Now Join the Battle Against Google’s and Apple’s 30% Cut

By Bill Toulas / August 19, 2020

The movement started by developers and software/game publishers against Google and Apple app stores’ 30% cut is getting fueled day by day. The latest contribution to the pile comes from a coalition of Korean startups.

The firms have submitted a request to the Korean Communications Commission to launch a probe against Apple and Google, looking into their in-app purchase system and whether it violates any competition laws in the country. According to the accusations made in the official complaint, Apple has been forcing Korean developers to use its specific in-app purchase system since 2011.

As for the rate of 30% imposed by both Google and Apple, the developers’ alliance finds it to be way too high, and it’s practically very problematic for them. The Play Store and the App Store account for a total of 87.8% of the applications market, so escaping them would be the equivalent of a suicidal move from the perspective of doing business, even if there were no additional harmful elements like accepting to install from “untrusted” sources, etc.

That said, the 30% cut is like a tax guillotine that developers have to accept or waive all hope of success.

Related: Epic Games CEO Says Fortnite’s Legal Battle Against Apple & Google Is About ‘Basic Freedoms of All Consumers and Developers’

This is added to the investigations currently underway by the European Commission, but the effectiveness of the whole movement remains unclear, and there’s still thick legal fog to get through. Tim Cook’s recent Congress hearing didn’t yield much, and Apple is already fighting back Epic Game’s decision to bypass the in-app purchase system via a Fortnite update.

Now, the existence of the Unreal Engine on the App Store is at stake, and hundreds of games are also at risk - most notably, Pro Evolution Soccer, Mortal Kombat, PUBG Mobile, and Peacekeeper Elite.

Related: Facebook Launches Paid Online Events Across 20 Countries – While Criticizing Apple for Refusing to Lower its 30% “App Store Tax”

If more app developers join in the fight and submit anti-trust complaints against Apple and Google, maybe the two tech giants will feel really shaken, but that would be a very brave act to expect from most. Sure, Epic Games is big enough to make a point and be heard, and even launch a trending social media campaign against Apple’s cuts. However, they are not adequately powerful to force changes in the app stores by themselves.

This is why Apple and Google just limited themselves to saying that they will not make exceptions for Fortnite. If Fortnite wasn’t an anomaly but just a drop of a strong wave, Google and Apple would be complied to revisit their practices.

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