Apple, Samsung May Face Inquiry

The chairman of the South Korean Fair Trade Commission said on a local radio talk show in Korea on Friday that it might consider investigating Samsung and Apple over collusion charges. The probe would focus on allegations that Samsung gave Apple a favorable deal on flash memory chips in order to push out competitors, the Korean wire service Yonhap News Agency said.

Samsung's Korean rivals had originally accused the electronics manufacturer of collusion with Apple in a story printed in the Korea Times on September 9. To its defense, Samsung vehemently denied those allegations, saying it had offered Apple no such deal.

It is not clear if these same companies have now approached the Korean FTC to push for an investigation into the matter.

Market analysts also cast doubt on whether Apple and Samsung were engaged in any such illegal activity. In an interview with BetaNews on September 23, Chris Crotty, senior analyst for consumer electronics at iSuppli, said "I certainly don't think Apple and Samsung are engaging in illegal behavior."

Crotty explained that in many Asian companies, different business divisions have a great deal of autonomy. That means the division that deals with flash memory production probably worked on its own to secure the Apple deal without the help of the division that produces digital music players.

Rumors surfaced in August that Apple had made a large buy of flash memory from Samsung at about a 40 percent discount, which industry research later confirmed.

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