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Apple and Google will have to start allowing third party app stores in Japan

Japan's government has passed a law yesterday, titled The Act on Promotion of Competition for Specified Smartphone Software, which will follow the lead of the European Union. In that it will require both Apple and Google to meet a set of requirements which include giving access to third party app stores, and allowing for other payment providers within applications. This move, similar to the EU's Digital Markets Act introduced in November 2022, will impact what they refer to as "designated providers" which both Apple and Google fall under.

The key requirements listed that both Apple and Google will have to meet in Japan are as follows:

  • Allow third-party app stores on their devices;
  • Allow application developers to use third-party billing services;
  • Enable users to change default settings with simple procedures, and offer choice screens for tools like browsers;
  • Not allowed to engage in any form of preferential treatment of their services over those of competitors in the display of search results without justifiable reason;
  • Not allowed to use acquired data about competing applications for their own applications;
  • Not allowed to prevent application developers from using features controlled by the OS with the same level of performance as the one used by Designated Providers.

Japan's government has justified the law stating that existing anti-monopoly laws won't effectively impact and regulate the smartphone market currently, with the stranglehold that Apple and Google have on it, it discourages any competitors from attempting to break into it. A statement from the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) states that "Self-correction by market mechanisms such as new entries is difficult and it takes a remarkably long time to demonstrate anticompetitive activities in response to individual cases under the Antimonopoly Act."

If Apple and Google fail to comply with the requirements set out in this new law, they could face fines of up to "20 percent of relevant turnover," so both businesses would want to avoid this where possible.

Source: The Register

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