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Apple Korea chief offers to resign

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Apple Korea General Manager Brandon Yoon answers questions from lawmakers during his attendance at this year's National Assembly audit of the Korea Communications Commission, the country's top telecom regulator, Oct. 21. Yonhap
Apple Korea General Manager Brandon Yoon answers questions from lawmakers during his attendance at this year's National Assembly audit of the Korea Communications Commission, the country's top telecom regulator, Oct. 21. Yonhap

By Kim Yoo-chul

The chief of Apple Korea is said to have offered to resign from the post, a few months after the country passed a bill banning Apple from requiring developers to use its in-app purchasing systems.

On Thursday, industry officials said Apple Korea General Manager Yoon Koo, or Brandon Yoon, tendered his resignation recently. Apple Korea officials were unavailable for comment.

Yoon, a former Samsung Electronics executive, joined Apple's Korean branch in 2018 as general manager. Before working at Samsung, Yoon had worked for Microsoft from 2003 to 2015.

Questions surround what made Yoon leave the company just as its new phone ― the iPhone 13 ― has begun to receive positive reviews, and the recently introduced Apple TV+ platform looks set to make an impact on the local pay TV market.

At the time of Yoon's joining Apple Korea, it opened its official store in Seoul's affluent district of Gangnam. He was the top contributor in terms of helping Apple increase its presence in Korea. Plus, LG Electronics' departure from the mobile market is set to boost its mobile sales, according to industry officials.

But Apple has become the prime target of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), as the country's top telecom regulator is poised to investigate the iPhone producer's regulatory compliance.

The bill is mostly intended to ban Apple's App Store, as well as its rival Google's Play Store, from "unfairly exploiting" their market positions in Korea to "force a provider of mobile content to use a specific payment method."

The passage of the bill also means Apple will no longer be able to limit app developers in Korea to use its in-app purchasing system exclusively, which helped Apple Korea collect commissions of between 15 percent and 30 percent for all purchases processed. The country's antitrust regulator had also been considering imposing penalties for alleged unfair business practices of Apple Korea on the basis of local carriers' insistence that Apple Korea demanded they pay ad fees and the costs for repairs of any defects in its phones.

Apple recently submitted specifics on how it plans to meet compliance requirements, but the telecom regulator asked Apple to resubmit its updates.

"Yoon just wanted to move to another company," another industry official said.


Kim Yoo-chul yckim@koreatimes.co.kr


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