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   제목: Apple and Google's Fight in Seoul Tests Biden in Washington

Apple and Google's Fight in Seoul Tests Biden in Washington

A proposal in the South Korean legislature is an early test of how forcefully the Biden administration will defend the companies abroad while trying to trim their power at home.

The South Korean National Assembly in Seoul. Lawmakers proposed legislation in October that would prohibit app stores from forcing developers on their payment system.



By David McCabe and Yu Young Jin

Aug. 23, 2021




WASHINGTON � For months, Apple and Google have been fighting a bill in the South Korean legislature that they say could imperil their lucrative app store businesses. The companies have appealed directly to South Korean lawmakers, government officials and the public to try to block the legislation, which is expected to face a crucial vote this week.

The companies have also turned to an unlikely ally, one that is also trying to quash their power: the United States government. A group funded by the companies has urged trade officials in Washington to push back on the legislation, arguing that targeting American firms could violate a joint trade agreement.

The South Korean legislation would be the first law in the world to require companies that operate app stores to let users in Korea pay for in-app purchases using a variety of payment systems. It would also prohibit blocking developers from listing their products on other app stores.

How the White House responds to this proposal poses an early test for the Biden administration: Will it defend tech companies facing antitrust scrutiny abroad while it applies that same scrutiny to the companies at home?



Washington has a longstanding practice of opposing foreign laws that discriminate against American firms, sometimes even when doing so conflicts with domestic policy debates. But President Biden wants a consistent approach to his concerns about the tech giants� incredible power over commerce, communications and news. In July he signed an executive order to spur competition in the industry, and his top two antitrust appointees have long been vocal critics of the companies.

The approach the White House chooses may have widespread implications for the industry, and for the shape of the internet around the world. A growing number of countries are pursuing stricter regulations on Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, fragmenting the rules of the global internet.

American officials have echoed some of the industry뭩 complaints about the proposal, saying in a March report it appeared to target American companies. But trade officials have yet to take a formal position on it, said Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the United States Trade Representative. He said officials were still considering how to balance the claim that the legislation discriminates against American companies with the belief among tech critics in South Korea and America that the legislation would level the playing field.

밯e are engaging a range of stakeholders to gather facts as legislation is considered in Korea, recognizing the need to distinguish between discrimination against American companies and promoting competition,� Mr. Hodge said in a statement.

Apple said that it regularly dealt with the United States government on a range of topics. During those interactions it discussed the South Korean app store legislation with American officials, including at the U. S. Embassy in Seoul, the company said in a statement.



The company said the legislation would 뱎ut users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases� and endanger parental controls.

A Google spokeswoman, Julie Tarallo McAlister, said in a statement that Google was open to 밻xploring alternative approaches� but believed the legislation would harm consumers and software developers.

The proposal was approved by a committee in the Korean National Assembly last month, over the opposition of some in the Korean government. It could get a vote in the body뭩 judiciary committee as soon as this week. It would then require a vote from the full assembly and the signature of President Moon Jae-in to become law.


Excerpts articles from The New York Times

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