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March 25, 2013

Apple’s iPhone and iPad distribution under EU scrutiny

Earlier this month, the EU fined Microsoft €561m for the company's failure to provide users with a choice of Internet browsers.

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Union (EU) said it is investigating Apple’s iPhone contracts with cellphone carriers after receiving informal complaints from various telecoms groups that the deals could violate competition rules.

A spokesman for the European Commission, Antoine Colombani, said the EU regulators are aware of Apple’s distribution methods and they have not received any formal complaints. "We will intervene if there are indications of anticompetitive behavior to the detriment of consumers," Colombani said.

The New York Times reported that a group of European wireless carriers have recently submitted information about their contracts with the iPhone maker to the European Commission.

Citing an unknown person, the newspaper reported that the accusations focused on Apple’s contracts with French carriers, though other countries may also be involved.

Sources told the NYT that in most cases, Apple sets a quota for how many iPhones the carrier needs to sell over a set period of time, usually three years and if it does not agree to the quotas, it does not receive the iPhone.

An Apple spokesman said: "Our contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the EU."

Recently, Apple settled a long-running dispute with the EU over e-book prices along with four publishers.

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Earlier this month, the EU fined Microsoft €561m for the company’s failure to provide users with a choice of Internet browsers.

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