Google stops KakaoTalk updates on Play Store in Korea after messaging app refuses to remove its own payment links – TechCrunch
Google has stopped providing updates to popular messaging app KakaoTalk in South Korea, according to a local report, after Kakao continued to use an external payment link in its Android app, contrary to the new policy of Google’s in-app payment. Google’s new policy requires developers selling digital goods and services to use Google’s internal billing system, but Kakao uses an external link to its own website.
This is the first time that Google has blocked PlayStore users from updating an app after its new payment policy took effect last month. KakaoTalk may be updated on other app operators such as Apple’s AppStore and OneStore, according to the local media report. Two big questions now will be whether Google is focusing on stopping updates to other apps that similarly provide external payment links, or if it is going a step further and phasing them out altogether.
“All developers selling digital goods and services in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system,” Google wrote in a statement. note detailing its new in-app payments policy. “Apps using an alternative built-in billing system will need to remove it in order to comply with the Payments Policy… Starting June 1, 2022, any app that is still not compliant will be removed from Google Play.”
Google said last year it would conform to alternative billing systems in South Korea by allowing Android app developers to use third-party payment options but offer them alongside Google Play’s billing system after the country adopted his in-app payment law – the first of its kind in the world – in August last year. This law, rightly, is regularly called the “anti-Google law”.
Developers, however, cannot add links pointing to their own websites in their apps, which would allow their users to purchase directly, bypassing Google billing entirely.
South Korean app developers and content providers have increased their paid subscription and service fees on Google Play due to the hefty 15-30% commissions now required following Google’s policy changes.
The Korean Communications Commission said in april that banning app developers from using the pay-per-web link option would violate South Korea’s app payment law, which requires app store operators to allow third-party payments. The KCC told TechCrunch last month that it would keep an eye on Google to see if it would remove an app against its new policy.
Apple announced last week that developers will need to submit a separate binary for iOS and iPadOS “distributed only on the App Store in South Korea” to use a third-party payment system for the App Store in South Korea.
TechCrunch contacted Kakao, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Google’s decision. Google did not respond to requests for comment.