Apple has agreed to invest nearly $90 million in small businesses and consumers in Korea to settle an antitrust case, almost five years after the tech giant was first accused of abusing its powerful position in the respective marketplace. Originally, the Cupertino tech giant had proposed to invest $84 million in 2020.
Following an investigation, the Cupertino tech giant was found guilty of anti-competitive practices in 2018. Apple proposed to settle the despite by agreeing to halt the unfair practices that led to the ruling, and by offering a financial investment that is meant to benefit small business and consumers.
Apple settles South Korea antitrust dispute for $90 million
The Korea Herald reports that the government has now finally agreed to Apple’s proposal.
“Apple’s yearslong antitrust dispute in South Korea seemed to settle as the nation’s watchdog accepted the US tech giant’s redeeming plan to spend some 100 billion won ($89.73 million) in supporting consumers and small-sized businesses.
The Fair Trade Commission said Wednesday that it has approved the financial package suggested by the local unit of Apple Inc. to wrap up its alleged unfair market practices in the past.”
In a press briefing held at Seoul Government Complex, FTC Chairwoman Joh Sung-wook said, “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.” Joh further also said that the FTC in Korea would keep watch on “whether Apple carries out the promised actions to contribute to the domestic ICT ecosystem.”
The publication states that Apple has been under antitrust scrutiny in South Korea for years.
“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.”
Apple’s voluntary financial offering involves investing 100 billion won ($89.73 million) in supporting consumers and small businesses. The amount will include 40 billion won on building a new R&D center for small businesses in the mobile phone manufacturing industry. Furthermore, the tech giant will offer consumers 10 percent discounts on iPhone repairs and warranties.
In a statement regarding the conclusion of the dispute, 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”
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