Apple has settled a long-running antitrust dispute in South Korea. The country’s Fair Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it has accepted Apple’s offer to spend $89.83 million in the country as part of a voluntary correction scheme.
“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 FTC Chairwoman Joh Sung-wook in a press briefing. “[The FTC] shall thoroughly keep watch on whether Apple carries out the promised actions to contribute to the domestic ICT ecosystem.”
The investigation started back in June 2016. More details surfaced in 2018. There were two main accusations. One was that Apple made telecom companies follow its own guidelines for adverts, but refused to share costs. The second was that it allegedly obligated operators to pay for repair costs and display stand installation costs.
Apple’s make-good in South Korea
Apple suggested the voluntary correction scheme as a make-good. As The Korea Herald reports:
“Based on the final plan, Apple Korea is to spend 40 billion won in building a research and development center for local small-sized businesses in the mobile phone manufacturing sector and 25 billion won in offering consumers 10 percent discounts in iPhone repairs and warranties.
Another 25 billion won will be allocated to establishing an education center to train ICT developers, while the remaining 10 billion won will be used to support digital education in schools and public facilities.”
In a statement, Apple said 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.”
If Apple fails to live up to its promises, it would face fines of $1,800 per day (2 million won). The correction scheme would also be cancelled.
Source: Korea Herald