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Japan risks angering Google and Apple empires

by on20 June 2023

 Could be another Battle of Tsushima

A Japanese government panel has risked angering the mighty US tech giants Apple and Google by insisting that they compete fairly in the market.

The panel drew up a set of regulations aimed at opening up the smartphone app stores of US technology giants Apple and Google to competition.  Just like the rest of the planet the pair dominate the smartphone operating system market and have been making a killing on the side by charging lots to developers to use their app stores.

Under the Japanese rules the pair will be obliged to allow their users to download apps by using services other than their own app stores. The government hopes that the move will spur competition and lead to app price drops. 

The government will create a list of what OS providers must not do in order to stop them favoring their own services and payment platforms.

The regulations were drawn up at the government's headquarters for digital market competition, headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. The government aims to submit relevant legislation to the next year's ordinary session of parliament. Apple makes it impossible for iPhone users to download apps without using its App Store. Of Android users, 97 per cent download apps through the Google Play store, although Google does not require them to do so.

It will be interesting to see if the Japanese can pull it off. So far Apple in particularly has been reluctant to budge on its app store fees which are currently a third of the app's price tag. 


Last modified on 20 June 2023
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