$84 million payout could settle Apple antitrust investigation in South Korea

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South Korea1
An interior photo of Apple's spectacular South Korea store.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s South Korea business has said that it will make a 100 billion won ($84 million) payout to support small businesses and help consumers. This is to address antitrust concerns raised in the country.

Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has been investigating Apple Korea for reportedly forcing mobile carriers to pay for advertising and warranty repairs. The payout — which is phrased like a pledge, but also sounds like a fine — will act as a make-good on Apple’s “unfair” terms.

Apple’s only retail store in South Korea will reopen April 18

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South Korea2
Apple's store in Seoul currently doesn't look quite this busy.
Photo: Apple

Apple is reopening its retail store in South Korea, making it the first Apple Store outside Greater China to reopen following the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The store, Apple’s first and only in South Korea, opened in 2018. It is located in the upmarket Gangnam district, in the city of Seoul. Along with every Apple Store outside China, it closed on March 13 as part of Apple’s COVID-19 response. It will reopen its doors on April 18, a little over a month after closing.

Apple closes all 17 stores in Italy [Updated]

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milan
Apple is closed for business in Italy.
Photo: Apple

Apple is set to shutter all of its stores in Italy beginning Thursday until further notice as the country goes into total lockdown due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

All 17 stores in Italy have updated their webpages showing that doors will close early Wednesday and the company isn’t saying when they will be reopened.

Apple reopens all but 4 retail stores in China as coronavirus infections fall

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chengdu
This store in Chengdu returns to normal hours on March 7.
Photo: Apple

Apple retail stores in China are slowly getting back to business as 38 of the company’s 42 retail stores are now open in an attempt to normalize business despite coronavirus concerns.

A review of the company’s retail web pages by Cult of Mac reveals Apple will expand business hours at 19 locations over the next couple of days and at least 6 stores will return to normal hours of operation.

Apple bans most employees from traveling to Italy and South Korea

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rome
Seeing the Coliseum is a no-go for Apple employees.
Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

Apple has added more travel restrictions for employees this week due to concerns of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Italy and South Korea have been added to Apple’s list of banned destinations, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company instituted a similar restriction on travel to China earlier this month to protect employees’ health.

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Apple-Garosugil-Seoul
The Apple Store in Garosugil, Seoul.
Photo: Apple

WWII-era dispute could ensnarl release of 2019 iPhones

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iPhone 11 rumor from Olixar
Apple could feel the fallout from a dispute between Japan and South Korea.
Photo: Olixar

Another dispute between countries looms over Apple, but this one dates back to World War II and could cause the tech giant heartburn as it readies the lineup of 2019 iPhones.

Japan will tighten export restrictions on South Korea for materials used to make smartphone chips and displays beginning Thursday. Japan imposed the rule after a court in South Korea ordered Japan’s Nippon Steel to compensate South Koreans for wartime forced labor.

Qualcomm fined for offering illegal kickbacks to phone-makers

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Qualcomm patents
Qualcomm lost its battle with South Korea's FTC.
Photo: Qualcomm

Qualcomm has suffered a blow by losing a lawsuit to South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission. Korea’s FTC alleged unfair business practices that allowed Qualcomm to hold onto its monopoly position as a mobile chip maker.

The case covers the 2000 to 2009 period, but Qualcomm has spent the past decade fighting it. Qualcomm must pay a total of $242 million in damages, although part of this will be reconsidered at a lower court.