On Monday, to address antitrust concerns, Apple’s South Korean unit has proposed a measure to provide small businesses, consumers, and others with 100 billion ($84.02 million) worth of support programs.
In the past few months, Apple’s Korea unit has been under investigation by the Korea Fair Trade Commission. The commission has said that the company has been facing allegations that they abused their position as a dominant player by forcing its mobile carriers to pay for warranty repairs and advertising.
In a briefing, the KFTC said that Apple has agreed for a proposal to fix its unfair terms with mobile carriers. Under this proposal, for instance, the company will discuss how it might share advertising costs with telecoms firms. This is aimed to help carriers reduce burdens.
The company has pledged to help by offering a whopping 40 billion won out of the 100 billion won to build centers to support R&D for Korea’s small manufacturers. The company has gone a bit further to invest 25 billion won to establish an academy for developers. They will also invest another 25 billion won to give consumer discount benefits on warranty repair costs and others.
After this proposal, the Korean regulator will close the case if they find that the proposed remedies reasonable problems after collecting public opinion. They will not go further to conclude if Apple was actually involved in anything illegal.
South Korea is the home turf of Samsung Electronics which holds as much as 65% of the market share. According to data from researcher Counterpoint, in 2019, Apple held around 18% share in South Korea’s mobile phone market.
Other than South Korea, Apple has been facing antitrust pressure in other countries also. For instance, in March, French regulators said that the company was guilty of anti-competitive behavior toward its retail and distribution network. They also fined the company 1.1 billion euros ($1.23 billion).