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South Korea to probe app store operators over alleged in-app payment violations

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SEOUL, Aug 9 (Reuters) – South Korea’s telecoms regulator said on Tuesday it plans to launch an investigation into app store operators such as Apple Inc, Alphabet’s Google and One Store over alleged breaches of the Integrated Payments Act.

Last year, South Korea passed the law, an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Act, which prohibits major app store operators such as Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems.

The rules have been in effect since March.

The Korea Communications Commission said in a statement that it had been conducting an inspection since May 17 to determine whether Google, Apple and One Store had violated the revised Telecommunications Business Law. He determined that the three app operators may have broken the rules.

The KCC added that it plans to take strict measures such as remedial orders or impose fines if the investigation uncovers prohibited activities.

Prohibited acts include app market operators unfairly delaying the review of mobile content or denying, delaying, restricting, removing or blocking the registration, renewal or inspection of mobile content that uses third-party payment methods.

Potential fines for violations will be up to 2% of the average annual income from related business practices, according to the rules. (Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by David Holmes)