SEJONG, Sept. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — The South Korean unit of U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. has said it will submit revised voluntary corrective measures over its alleged violation of competition law, the anti-trust regulator said Monday.
Apple Korea is suspected of having required South Korean mobile phone carriers — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. — to pay the cost of television advertisements for its iPhones and their warranty costs.
Apple has said that advertisements benefit both the company and South Korean mobile carriers and that the action was fully justifiable.
But the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), the country’s antitrust watchdog, has claimed that Apple holds a clear advantage over local mobile carriers and that shifting the cost of advertisements is only another means to squeeze the profits of the carriers.
In June, Apple Korea proposed a set of voluntary corrective measures to try to win a consent decree that would end the legal dispute without going to court.
The watchdog failed to reach a conclusion on the case during its deliberation last week and said Apple Korea should take complementary measures on its previous proposal.
“We will resume an in-depth deliberation and decide whether to begin the process of a consent decree” if Apple Korea submits improved voluntary corrective measures, the commission said.
Neither the commission nor Apple Korea gave a specific time frame on when Apple Korea can submit revised voluntary corrective measures.
Under the law, an applicant is required to state a correction scheme necessary to restore competition practices or improve trading practices and to remedy or prevent damages to consumers and other business entities.
If the FTC decides to launch the process, it will come up with provisional corrective measures in consultation with Apple Korea before collecting opinions of relevant parties and finalizing a consent decree.
The law stipulates any consent decree adopted by the commission does not mean that the relevant conduct is recognized as a violation of the law.