Apple Korea offers $84.02 million to settle antitrust probe

On Monday, South Korea’s competition watchdog stated, Apple’s Inc South Korean unit has put forwards proposals to address antitrust concerns and has offered $84.02 million (100 billion won) in support programmes to small small businesses, consumers and others.

The development comes in the wake of Apple Korea being investigated by the Korea Fair Trade Commission over allegations that it abused its dominant position and forced mobile carriers to pay for advertising and warranty repairs, said the commission.

As part of a remedy forming part of its proposal, Apple has agreed to remedy “unfair” terms with South Korean mobile carriers, said the KFTC in a briefing.

Apple Korea was not immediately available for comment.

Of the 100 billion won, Apple has pledged to channel 40 billion won in building a center to support research and development for small manufacturers and has allocated 25 billion won to establish an “academy” to provide education to developers. It has also allocated 25 billion won towards providing discounts on warranty as well as cost of repairs and other benefits to consumers.

KFTC will close the investigation without concluding whether Apple’s conduct amounted to illegal behavior if it concludes that the proposed remedies are reasonable after getting feedback from the public.

According to data from Counterpoint, in 2019, Apple’s marketshare of South Korea’s mobile phone market stood at 18%, with Samsung Electronics’ marketshare being 65%.

Apple is facing antitrust investigations in multiple countries, including South Korea.

In March 2020, French regulators had imposed a fine of $1.23 billion (1.1 billion euros) on Apple saying the iPhone maker was guilty of anti-competitive behavior toward its retail and distribution network.

At that time, Apple had said it would appeal to the decision.

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