Top Apple Executive for South Korea Leaves Amid App Store Tussle
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc.’s top executive for South Korea is leaving the iPhone maker for a job in the U.S. amid a dispute with the country’s government over App Store rules, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Brandon Yoon joined Apple as its general manager and head of sales for South Korea in 2018 after serving as an executive at Microsoft Corp. in the U.S. and later Samsung Electronics Co. In his role at Apple, Yoon managed sales in the country, taking on Samsung on its home turf.
Recently, Yoon was also Apple’s point person in ongoing legal proceedings over app store rules in the region. The country is adopting rules forcing Apple and Google app stores to offer alternative payment methods to the companies’ own systems -- something that Apple has said will increase risks for users.
Yoon had provided testimony in Apple’s defense on the issue, but his departure from the company isn’t related to the legal fight, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
On Wednesday, Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit said it would add the option for developers to use alternative billing systems on the Korean version of its Play Store. Apple has maintained that its App Store is already in compliance despite not offering alternative billing systems, but it remains in discussion with local officials.
The South Korean law “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,” an Apple spokesperson said when the legislation was passed in August.
But the company has been making some concessions on its App Store. It plans to let developers of reader apps -- which include those for video, music and news -- point users to the web next year to sign up for subscriptions, bypassing Apple’s fees.
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