Published in Mobiles

Convicted cartel Apple faces another antitrust case

by on11 July 2018

Japanse worried about Apple's sales methods

Japanese regulators are investigating if Apple may have breached antitrust rules by forcing mobile service providers to sell its iPhones cheaply and charge higher monthly fees, denying Apple Fanboys a fair choice.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said that the Japanese unit of Apple had forced NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank to offer subsidies and sell iPhones at a discount.

“Obliging carriers to offer subsidies (for iPhones) could have prevented the carriers from offering lower monthly charges and restricted competition”, the FTC said in a statement.

The FTC, which began looking into Apple’s sales practices in 2016, did not punish Apple as the US company had agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers, it said.

The US company accounts for one in every two smartphones sold in Japan, according to MM Research Institute Ltd, making Japan one of its most profitable markets.

The carriers sold the iPhones at a discount, the FTC said, giving Apple an advantage over rivals such as Samsung.

In order to make up for the losses, Apple locked consumers into lucrative two- and four-year contracts, the watchdog said.

In revising the contracts, Apple has agreed to allow the carriers to offer customers a choice of buying iPhones without subsidies but paying lower monthly charges, the FTC said.

Apple has previous form for antitrust antics.  Steve Jobs once ran a book cartel to damage Amazon and increase the prices he and his publisher chums could charge. Apple denied everything to the bitter end and even fought with court appointed regulators who were trying to teach it what antitrust actually meant.

It looks like it might need another class.


Last modified on 11 July 2018
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