Saturday, December 9, 2023

Apple’s antitrust dispute in South Korea may be coming to an end

South Korea's telecommunications regulator says that Apple and Alphabet’s Google have abused their dominant app market position and warned of possible fines totaling up to US$50.5 million.

Apple’s antitrust dispute in South Korea may be close to a settlement as the nation’s watchdog has accepted the tech giant’s redeeming plan to spend some 100 billion won (about $89.73 million) in supporting consumers and small-sized businesses., according to The Korea Herald.

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) says it’s approved the financial package suggested by the local unit of Apple to wrap up its alleged unfair market practices in the past.

“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.

Apple Korea has been criticized by local mobile carriers for passing the costs for smartphone sales —  including advertising costs, launch events and repair costs — to them. The FTC has reviewed details of the U.S. firm’s contracts with South Korean mobile telecoms carriers. The commission is South Korea’s regulatory authority for economic competition.

In the past, the FTC said it would review detailed corrective measures crafted by Apple Korea and decide whether to approve them. Under South Korean law, an applicant is required to state a correction scheme necessary to restore competition practices or to improve business practices, and to remedy or prevent damage to consumers and other business entities.

As part of corrective measures, Apple Korea has proposed holding consultations with South Korean mobile phone carriers to reduce their burden and share the cost related to advertisements.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.