Gruber on the newly passed South Korea bill banning Apple/Google from forcing developers to use App Store payment systems

First things first, here’s a quote from Apple on the bill:

The Telecommunications Business Act will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases, and features like “Ask to Buy” and Parental Controls will become less effective. We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this legislation — leading to fewer opportunities for the over 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned more than KRW8.55 trillion to date with Apple.

And Gruber:

I think the latter half of Apple’s statement is true — user trust in in-app purchases will decline. The gist of these legislative proposals — like this month’s “Open App Markets Act” from U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — is, effectively, to require iOS and Android to be, to some degree, more like Mac and Windows. Put aside the specific details, that’s what these laws are saying: phones should work like PCs in terms of loosening the control of the platform owners (Apple and Google) over what software can be installed, and what that software can do.


I am confident that the overwhelming majority of typical users are more comfortable installing apps and making in-app purchases on their iOS and Android devices than on their Mac and Windows PCs not despite Apple and Google’s console-like control over iOS and Android, but because of it.

I certainly feel this way. I am more comfortable making an in-app purchase that goes through Apple. Though I do feel somewhat protected by purchases that go through my credit card, watched over by their fraud protection services. But that said, fraud means changing credit cards, which is always a pain.

The comparison to a Mac seems appropriate. I buy Mac software through the Mac App Store. But I also buy software directly from the developer, if that developer is well known and trusted (thinking about BBEdit, Keyboard Maestro in particular). I think I’d be OK if I had the same options on iPhone. Obviously, at the root of this decision, for me, is fear of malware.

One last bit from Gruber:

But from what I’ve seen over the last few decades, the quality of the user experience of every computing platform is directly correlated to the amount of control exerted by its platform owner. The current state of the ownerless world wide web speaks for itself.

Thoughtful insight. Chewing on this.

Good post from Gruber, worth following the headline link and reading the whole thing. There’s a lot more.