Russia finds Apple guilty of fixing iPhone prices

Google isn’t the only American company facing regulatory trouble in Russia. The country’s antitrust body has ruled that Apple is guilty of fixing prices for iPhone 5 and 6 variants at 16 local retailers. Reportedly, the company tracked prices at these stores and would ask them to raise the price if it was ever deemed “unsuitable.” If they didn’t comply, Apple supposedly had the authority to terminate their reseller deals without so much as an explanation.

Apple has 3 months to contest the decision once it’s published in full later in March. It’s not clear what the proposed penalty will be, but Google was hit with a relatively modest 438 million ruble (currently $ 7.4 million) fine. Execs aren’t likely to lose sleep over the financial side of the ruling, then. Officials add that Apple has mended its ways with a policy that should prevent future trouble.

We’ve asked Apple for comment. However, a spokesperson tells the Financial Times that the company “worked closely” with the antitrust agency and is “glad to put this matter behind us.” Apple isn’t likely to fight this verdict, in other words — unlike in its e-book case, it’s more interested in moving on (and protecting sales in a major market) than fighting to the bitter end.

Via: Financial Times, 9to5Mac

Source: FAS (translated)

Engadget RSS Feed

Canada finds Apple’s carrier deals don’t hurt competition

France may think Apple is up to no good with its carrier deals for the iPhone, but you won’t hear similar gripes from Canada. The country’s Competition Bureau has determined that there isn’t “sufficient evidence” to show that Apple had illegally strong-armed carriers into deals that gave it preferred treatment. While there’s no question that the iPhone is a “must-have” for carriers, the regulator says, the terms only have a minor effect at most — there’s plenty of competition, and ditching Apple’s agreements wouldn’t significantly change the playing field.

The investigation started in 2014 after the Bureau received info hinting that Apple was placing a heavy burden on providers. As in other countries, there were concerns that carriers had to buy a minimum number of iPhones, agree to up-front retail subsidies and give Apple a “most favored nation” clause that prevented rivals from getting better treatment. What evidence exists suggests that carriers could easily “mitigate” these terms, according to the decision.

From first-hand experience, the findings appear to hold up. The Canadian market is big on the iPhone, but you’re just as likely to see carriers push the latest Samsung phone or the Google Pixel line. You’ll frequently see other flagship devices get more prominent treatment, or discounts that aren’t offered for Apple’s handsets. While this doesn’t rule out the possibility of overly strict deals, it’s clear that there’s no international consensus on Apple’s competitive stance — it largely depends on individual markets.

Via: AppleInsider

Source: Competition Bureau

Engadget RSS Feed