Japan's New Law Pressures Google and Apple to Open Up to Third-Party Apps

Japan's revised anti-monopoly law doesn't mandate third-party app stores outright but pushes for "sideloading" to increase app market competition.

Japan Says "Open Up!" to Apple and Google, Pushing for Third-Party App Stores

Japan is following in the European Union's footsteps, cracking down on tech giants Apple and Google by enacting a law designed to shake up the mobile app scene. The new regulation aims to break the Apple and Google app store duopoly, forcing the companies to open their platforms to third-party app stores.

Japanese courthouse
Japanese courthouse (Source: DALL·E 3-generated image)

While specific details are still being ironed out, one thing's for sure: Apple and Google could face hefty fines – a cool 20% of their domestic revenue for the offending service – if they don't comply.

This move comes after years of complaints that Apple and Google have an unfair advantage in the app market. Competing with their established ecosystems has been near impossible for third-party app stores, stifling competition and potentially keeping app prices high.

Japan isn't the first to take action; the EU has already penalized Google for prioritizing its Play Store. The new Japanese law, however, doesn't name specific companies directly.

So how will it work? The Japanese Fair Trade Commission will create a list of companies subject to the new rules, requiring annual compliance reports. Apple and Google are shoe-ins for this list. However, don't expect any fines to be handed out before the end of 2025.

Want to learn more about how different countries are tackling antitrust issues in the tech world? Check out "Comparative Competition Law" by Thomas Weck and Masako Wakui. You can find it on Amazon (link below), and the Kindle edition is currently 20% off!

Comparative Competition Law



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