The Japanese government has decided to introduce new regulations on the services operated by large IT companies and is aiming to submit a bill to the Diet as early as next year under Japan’s legislative review regulations, according to a report by the Yomiuri Shimbun. The new regulations will require Apple to open its third-party app store to iOS, and also prohibit Google from favoring its own services in search results.
According to a previous meeting, Japan’s Digital Market Competition Headquarters plans to prepare a final report and determine the direction of the new regulations by the end of June. The new regulations will be the second round of regulations for large IT companies, following the Digital Platform Transaction Transparency Act, which takes effect in 2021, and which previously required large IT companies to disclose information such as the terms of their transactions.
Apple and Google’s operating systems currently split the Japanese cell phone market almost equally, so companies conducting business must comply with the rules set by both companies.
Apple is currently banned from using app stores other than its own App Store on the iPhone, a move that has been widely criticized because of the high fees companies that develop and operate apps have to pay due to the lack of competition.
The new rules will allow other companies’ app stores on iOS, and IT giants such as Microsoft and Japan’s major telecoms companies are expected to be the first to deploy their own app stores on iOS. The Japanese government says the move is intended to encourage competition and ease the burden on consumers by reducing the fees they have to pay.
In addition, Apple and Google forcing developers to use their own payment systems and restricting other payment systems is also an issue that needs to be addressed, and the Japanese government also plans to introduce regulations to prohibit such forced practices.
Another concern is Google’s “self-preference,” such as giving preferential treatment to its own apps on devices using its own Android system, and displaying its own services such as Google Maps at the top of search results. The Japanese government’s current plan is to introduce new ways to make it easier for users to access or choose other services.