Apple under investigation by South Korean anti-competition body

A South Korean government body is investigating Apple over "some matters" pertaining to the company's dealings there, a report said Tuesday local time without revealing the nature of the probe.

Jeong Jae-Chan, chairman of South Korea's Fair Trade Commission, revealed the investigation into Apple during a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday, but declined to further elaborate on the topic when questioned by a lawmaker, Reuters reports.

Local media earlier this month claimed the KFTC was looking into Apple's contracts with South Korean wireless carriers, the report said. Whether Jae-Chan's statement today is tied to those rumors is unknown.

Apple is no stranger to Korea's economic authority. In 2012 the company was on the other side of KFTC scrutiny when it lodged formal antitrust complaints against rival Samsung, accusing the Korean tech giant abused certain wireless technology patents to gain the upper hand in a highly competitive smartphone market. At the time, Apple and Samsung were involved in a contentious, multi-jurisdictional patent dispute over a variety of smartphone utility and design properties.

The KFTC ultimately rejected Apple's complaint, clearing Samsung of any wrongdoing in using deemed standard-essential patents as legal instruments.

While not specified in today's report, Apple's iPhone sales policies might be the target of the latest KFTC investigation. Apple has in the past run afoul of international competition laws for its aggressive carrier deals, most recently drawing the ire of France in April over onerous contract terms. Before that, Taiwan fined Apple $647,000 in 2015 for forcing carriers to seek approval prior to lowering iPhone prices


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