According to recent news, Apple is facing investigation by the European Union. The European Commission is examining if the company is using anti-competitive iPhone sales practices and technical restrictions in order to surpass its rival smartphone makers from the European market.
Therefore, not only that US senators questioned Apple chief executive Tim Cook for the technology company’s tax accounting practices, but also the EU sent a nine-page questionnaire to several mobile network operators in the interest of discovering whether the distribution terms are favoring Apple by seeing to it rivals are unable to secure better sales deals.
The investigation’s main reasons seem to be Apple’s request for minimum orders, its involvement controlling marketing budgets and its partner terms ensuring against a rival getting a better deal. In addition, there have been questions regarding the fact that Apple places restrictions on its devices, blocking them from being used on some 4G networks across Europe.
The fact that a part of the telecoms groups has been having issues with Apple’s uncompromising sales tactics is well-known. Therefore, recently some executives complained about Apple’s strong control over sales and marketing plans for its devices, especially when the new products are released.
However, it appears that The European inquiry is based on the private complaints from mobile operators and before beginning a formal investigation, the commission is supposed to establish that Apple is in control of the EU smartphone market.
Even though, regulators focus on Apple’s behavior, they are aware of the fact that competition in the smartphone market has increased. Not only that Samsung has rapidly gained ground, but also Nokia and BlackBerry have started to be viable alternatives for customers. Therefore, proving that Apple controls the EU market may be difficult to show given the popularity of Samsung Electronic’s Galaxy handsets. For that reason, at this moment, the inquiry is in the preliminary stages.
The mobile operators have until June 17 to respond to the questionnaires. Once they reply, the European Commission will use the results in order to decide whether to launch a formal probe into Apple’s tactics.
As a response to the European Commission concerns, Apple has said that it complies fully with European law.