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Apple to invest nearly $90 million to settle Korea antitrust dispute

“(The FTC) shall thoroughly keep watch on whether Apple carries out the promised actions to contribute to the domestic ICT ecosystem.”

What you need to know

  • Apple has settled an antitrust dispute in South Korea.
  • It will contribute $90 million to consumers and small businesses in the country.

Apple has agreed to contribute nearly $90 million to small businesses and consumers in Korea to settle an antitrust dispute.

From The Korea Herald:

Apple’s yearslong antitrust dispute in South Korea seemed to settle as the nation’s watchdog accepted the US tech giant’s redeeming plan to spend some 100 billion won ($89.73 million) in supporting consumers and small-sized businesses.

The Fair Trade Commission said Wednesday that it has approved the financial package suggested by the local unit of Apple Inc. to wrap up its alleged unfair market practices in the past.

FTC chair Joh Sung-Wook reportedly said it was the first time a correction scheme meant to “make up for unfair market practices” “actually provides direct benefits to consumers such as repair and warranty cost discounts”. Joh further stated the FTC in Korea would keep watch on “whether Apple carries out the promised actions to contribute to the domestic ICT ecosystem.”

Apple has been under antitrust scrutiny in South Korea for years, as explain the KH:

Apple Korea has for years been under probe by the antitrust watchdog over allegations that it pushed the country’s three mobile carriers — SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus — to bear the expenses for iPhone’s television advertisements and warranty services.

Joh claimed the decision “was made under strict legal requirements and procedures” in response to claims the watchdog had turned a blind eye to Apple’s alleged abuses. The initial examination was begun in 2016. The voluntary financial offering from Apple was first floated in June 2019, however, it has taken a year to begin proceedings and five months to confirm the measures. Apple will spend money on a research and development center for local small businesses in the mobile phone manufacturing sector, and offer consumers 10 percent discounts on iPhone repairs and warranties. Further money will be spent on an education center for ICT developers and digital education in schools and facilities. Apple said it was “pleased” the process had reached a conclusion in a statement, and that “this broad range of initiatives will strengthen innovation and economic opportunity across Korea. We look forward to sharing more details on these plans in the months to come”

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