Apple settles South Korea antitrust case with $90 million investment

Apple’s lengthy antitrust dispute in South Korea that began in June 2016 has finally settled as the nation’s Fair Trade Commission watchdog accepted the Cupertino Colossus’ plan to spend some 100 billion won (US$89.73 million) in supporting consumers and small businesses to wrap up its alleged unfair market practices in the past.

Apple logoBae Hyunjung for The Korea Herald:

“This is the first time that a correction scheme (to make up for unfair market practices) actually provides direct benefits to consumers such as repair and warranty cost discounts,” said the FTC Chairwoman Joh Sung-wook in a press briefing held at Seoul Government Complex.

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

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.

Under the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act, companies that are accused of antitrust activities are allowed to state a correction scheme. Should the FTC view the suggested corrective measures as reasonable, it is to close the case without judging the illegality of the case.

MacDailyNews Note: Based on the correction plan, in South Korea, Apple will spend 40 billion won to build an R&D center for local small businesses in the mobile phone manufacturing sector, 25 billion won to give consumers 10% discounts in iPhone repairs and warranties, 25 billion won to establish an education center to train Information and Communications Technology developers, and 10 billion won to support digital education in schools.

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