South Korean messaging giant Kakao today confirmed it will remove an external payment option after Google blocked the South Korean company behind KakaoTalk from releasing updates.
Kakao continued to use an external payment link in its Android app against Google’s new in-app payment rules. While app updates were suspended on June 30, local reports of KakaoTalks blocking updates on the Play Store only surfaced last week.
Kakao told TechCrunch that he decided to remove the external link for the convenience of users.
The decision came a week after Kakao held talks with the South Korean Communications Commission (KCC) and Google last Thursday (July 7). The company didn’t make the decision to remove the link at this time, when TechCrunch asked earlier this week.
South Korea has become the first country to impose restrictions on Google and Apple’s payment policies that force developers to use only their own billing systems. The bill, also called the Anti-Google Law, was passed by South Korea’s parliament in August last year.
South Korean developers can use third-party payment systems, but cannot use links to redirect customers to another website. Google’s new policy requires developers who sell digital goods and services to use their own billing system. This means that Google does not allow developers to add links to their app that allow users to bypass Google’s billing system.
On April 1, Google said all apps must either use Google’s own payment option with the 15-30% commission, or apps that might offer a third-party system for 26% commission. Google also said apps could be removed if they don’t comply with its new in-app rules, starting June 1.
It’s possible Kakao deliberately defied Google’s rules to bring the issue to the regulator’s attention.
The KCC, which told TechCrunch in April that preventing app developers from using the pay-per-web link option would violate South Korea’s app payment law, supposedly will launch an investigation into Google’s billing policy.