HomeWinBuzzer NewsNew Japanese Law Forces Apple, Google to Open Mobile Ecosystems

New Japanese Law Forces Apple, Google to Open Mobile Ecosystems

The statute singles out Apple and Google, requiring they allow third-party app stores within their ecosystems.

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A legislative change in now mandates that and open their devices to third-party app stores and payment services. The Act on Promotion of Competition for Specified Smartphone Software cleared Japan's upper house and is now awaiting Cabinet approval, an event expected within the next year and a half.

Legislative Requirements

The statute singles out Apple and Google, requiring they allow third-party app stores within their ecosystems. Other stores will be available alongside the Apple App Store on iOS and the on .

This includes permission for developers to use separate billing systems. Users are also granted the ability to change default settings easily and will be provided options for essential utilities like web browsers. The law bars these tech giants from unjustly prioritizing their services, leveraging data from rival apps, and denying developers access to OS features on par with their own applications.

Impact on Apple

A key stipulation demands equal access to OS-integrated features, which could heavily impact Apple. The company has been particularly resistant to letting third-party developers tap into the NFC chip for payment processes on iPhones. Ignoring these new rules could lead to hefty fines, potentially up to 20 percent of related revenue, a financial loss likely intended to ensure compliance.

Japanese officials assert that the smartphone sector has morphed into an oligopoly, hindering competition. They argue that current antimonopoly laws fall short when it comes to regulating this space. The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has noted that self- efforts and new market entries are often insufficient, and anticompetitive behaviors under existing laws take too long to challenge. They emphasize the necessity of this new law, especially with similar international measures like the EU's Digital Markets Act and the UK's Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill taking shape.

Implementation and Oversight

Upon becoming law, the JFTC alongside other ministries will address concerns revolving around security, privacy, and child safety. Security will be a focal point, as the allows Apple and Google to argue that third-party implementations may introduce security issues, proposing alternative solutions if necessary. Apple has previously pointed to security issues regarding external app stores but adhered to comparable mandates in the EU's Digital Markets Act.

This move from Japan aligns with the EU's Digital Markets Act from November 2022, aimed at curbing the dominance of major tech corporations. These new regulations are intended to spur fairer competition in the smartphone sector and might serve as a model for other nations looking to enforce similar rules.

SourceJapan FTC
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.