Apple Korea has offered to make a 100 billion won ($84 million) payout to support South Korean small businesses and help consumers, says the country’s competition watchdog (via Reuters).
Apple Korea had been under investigation by the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) for requiring SK Telecom, KT Corp, and LG Uplus Corp to pay the cost of television advertisements and warranty service for its iPhones. The investigation found that Apple abused its dominant position by forcing the mobile carriers to pay for advertising and warranty repairs, the commission has said.
In June 2020, the KFTC decided to allow Apple to create a series of measures to address the Cupertino firm’s anti-competitive business practices in the country. Apple has now agreed to repair unfair terms with mobile carriers as part of its proposal. Apple said it will discuss how to share advertising costs with telecoms firms, to help reduce burdens to carriers, the KFTC said in a briefing.
Apple has pledged to offer 40 billion won ($34 million) to build a center to support research and development for Korea’s small manufacturers and 25 billion won ($21 million) to establish an “academy” to provide education to developers. The rest of the 100 billion won pledge would be used to offer consumer discounts on warranty repair costs and other benefits, says the Reuters report.
If the KFTC accepts Apple’s offer, it will close the case and decree that Apple hasn’t done anything illegal.
While this may be good news for Apple, it may be facing another probe by regulators in Korea over its business practices. Last week, an alliance of small companies and app developers submitted a petition to the Korean Communications Commission requesting an investigation over Apple and Google’s in-app purchases and allegedly anti-competitive behavior.