Seoul: A coalition of consumers Friday filed a police case against Google’s top executives, including CEO Sundar Pichai, for the tech giant’s in-app billing system that forces domestic app developers to pay hefty commissions.
According to The Korea Times, Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty (CUCS) has filed a complaint against Pichai, Google Korea CEO Nancy Mable Walker and Google Asia-Pacific President Scott Beaumont at Gangnam Police Station in Seoul for allegedly violating the country’s Telecommunications Business Act.
“The enforcement of Google’s in-app payment policy has raised costs, burdening consumers and damaging creators,” a representative from the consumer group was quoted as saying.
“App developers have no choice but to accept the request from Google, which accounts for 74.6 per cent of the app store market share,” the representative added.
South Korean companies have raised charges for paid content services on Google as the US tech giant prepares to remove apps with external payment links circumventing Google’s in-app payment system.
Google started enforcing the controversial billing system in Korea from June 1.
Currently, many app developers on Google’s Play store directed users to external links for payment to circumvent Google’s billing policy, which takes a hefty 15-30 percent commission from in-app purchases, reports Yonhap News Agency.
In March, South Korea’s Cabinet approved a revised bill that would ban app store operators from forcing developers to use their own in-app payment systems.
Still, Google required in April all app developers selling digital goods and services to use its billing system and to remove external payment links. Non-complying apps were not able to offer updates, and Google warned to remove such apps from the Play store on June 1.
Since Google’s announcement, in-app charges for a wide array of content services, including webtoons and digital books, have seen 15-20 per cent hikes on the Play store in the past two months.
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