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SK antitrust regulator is investigating Apple and it won’t say why

Zach Epstein
June 28th, 2016 at 7:45 AM
Apple Antitrust Investigation

A report on Tuesday morning reveals that South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating some of Apple’s business practices in the region. Rumors emerged as recently as last week suggesting that an investigation would soon be underway, and the FTC’s head confirmed as much during a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday. For the time being, however, the FTC is not revealing exactly why Apple is being investigated.

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During an FTC hearing on Tuesday morning in South Korea that was attended by a Reuters reporter, FTC chairman Jeong Jae-chan confirmed that the country’s antitrust regulator is currently investigating Apple. Jeong said that the FTC is investigating “some matters” related to the world’s top consumer electronics company, but he would not discuss any further details surrounding the investigation.

Earlier this month, local media including The Korea Times reported that Apple would be targeted in an upcoming FTC investigation. According to those reports, some of Apple’s contracts with wireless carriers in the region were to be the focus of the investigation.

Unnamed sources told the website that Apple was believed to be pressuring some South Korean carriers into purchasing a minimum number of promotional iPhones, though it is unclear how that might violate regulations in the region. The site also reported that Apple is allegedly forcing carriers to share the burden of iPhone repair costs.

“The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating mobile carriers over the exact terms of their contracts with Apple, and Apple Korea will also be looked into soon,” one unnamed source told the site.

Apple hasn’t yet commented publicly on the investigation.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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