Canada court orders Apple divulge documents in iPhone anti-competition probe

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2014
The Federal Court of Canada on Wednesday said it will order Apple to release documents to the country's Competition Bureau as part of an ongoing investigation into possible anticompetitive practices regarding iPhone partner carrier contracts.


DIX30 Apple Store in Brossard, Quebec. | Source: Apple


According to Reuters, Chief Justice Paul Crampton agreed to sign an order compelling Apple's Canadian subsidiary to hand over documents pertinent to the investigation, including contracts with cellular providers.

The probe, announced last week by Canada's Competition Bureau, is an attempt to assess whether Apple illegally leveraged the iPhone's substantial market sway to force wireless carriers into raising service prices for competing handsets. Alternatively, Apple may have inked agreements that dissuaded partners from lowering prices of other smartphones.

In the U.S. and beyond, Apple is known to wield the iPhone as a considerable bargaining chip in landing favorable deals with providers eager to sell the popular device. Last year, the European Commission scrutinized Apple's iPhone sales strategies after receiving complaints from mobile operators.

Derek Leschinsky, a lawyer with the bureau, said California-based Apple is considering a constitutional challenge of the order to compel production of sensitive business documents through its wholly owned foreign subsidiary.

Apple has 90 days to hand over the documents, or in lieu of such action, lodge a challenge with Canada's federal court system. As noted by Leschinsky, however, no party has been successful in arguing the Competition Act as unconstitutional.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    Why don't they investigate the carriers to determine why the country has some of the highest rates for mobile plans anywhere?

    The handsets are a bargain comparatively. I've never seen so many "free" phones offered with a contract.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    I don't really follow what's at issue here. Why would Apple be remotely interested in increasing the ASP (and hence, profits) of the likes of Samsung? I've never heard of something so silly as being part of Apple's strategy anywhere, at anytime.

    Perhaps someone can explain what's really going on here in plain English?
  • Reply 3 of 34
    I don't really follow what's at issue here. Why would Apple be remotely interested in increasing ASP (and hence, profits) of the likes of Samsung? I've never heard of something so silly as being part of Apple's strategy anywhere, at anytime.

    Perhaps someone can explain what's really going on here in plain English?
    If you offer a product that is more expensive than anyone else you will inevitably lose some sales but if you can drive everyone's price to your level rather than move to there level. You win. You get the same profits and people are more likely to buy your product or something like that.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    I don't really follow what's at issue here. Why would Apple be remotely interested in increasing ASP (and hence, profits) of the likes of Samsung? I've never heard of something so silly as being part of Apple's strategy anywhere, at anytime.

    Perhaps someone can explain what's really going on here in plain English?
    If you offer a product that is more expensive than anyone else you will inevitably lose some sales but if you can drive everyone's price to your level rather than move to there level. You win. You get the same profits and people are more likely to buy your product or something like that.

    That's obvious. As I said, I find it to be totally implausible. In nearly four decades of existence, Apple has done the exact opposite with every one of its products, starting with PCs.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Keep in mind, Canada's Competition Bureau is a law enforcement agency that operates and makes all decisions independently from the Canadian Government. Anyone can lodge a request to investigate anti-competitive practices thereby the Competition Bureau decides if it is reasonable to proceed with an investigation.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1brayden View Post



    Why don't they investigate the carriers to determine why the country has some of the highest rates for mobile plans anywhere?



    The handsets are a bargain comparatively. I've never seen so many "free" phones offered with a contract.



    Oh no, that's too logical, because the Canadian authorities will protect carriers like Rogers and go after the American business as a sign of saying "We're doing something!" Sometimes it seems these legal maneuvers are attempts to get access to documents that otherwise they would not be able to view than anything else.

  • Reply 7 of 34
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,042member

    Anticompetitive practices. Who is affected? If any company wants to charge a million dollars for a phone, what's stopping them from doing that? The carriers don't have to carry anything they don't want to. They also don't have to sign anything they don't want to. Saying because Apple mobile products have "substantial market sway" they have to be investigated for doing something every other company does is a crock. Why don't they investigate Samsung's practices, or Amazon's or Google's. Apple is successfully not because of contracts but because a lot of people are willing to buy their products, no matter what they cost. Those people who complain about the price can go buy someone else's phone. It's as simple as that. Nobody has a "right" to buy an Apple phone for less money than another phone. 

     

    Actually, If Apple has to divulge it's contracts then everyone should have to and the public should also know who has made the request. Let's all be transparent instead of hiding behind some bogus non-governmental agency.

  • Reply 8 of 34

    Oh no, that's too logical, because the Canadian authorities will protect carriers like Rogers and go after the American business as a sign of saying "We're doing something!" Sometimes it seems these legal maneuvers are attempts to get access to documents that otherwise they would not be able to view than anything else.
    It's clear that the current Canadian Government is not on the side of carriers. It has made decisions to expand the level competition in that industry to the latter's disdain.

    Difficult to prove anti-competitive practices among carriers without evidence of collusion since Canada is a much more sparsely populated country that automatically suggests greater costs to deliver products and services. I'm not absolving the carriers of anti-competitive practices however, but the Competition Bureau needs reasonable cause to investigate and won't unless someone provides it to them in the form of an official complaint.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    Oh, Canada... ????
  • Reply 10 of 34
    Oh, Canada... ????
    If there is a wrongful conviction that is unfairly confirmed at the Supreme Court of Canada level, I'll share your sentiment.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    If there is a wrongful conviction that is unfairly confirmed at the Supreme Court of Canada level, I'll share your sentiment.

    Why aren't they demanding the carriers produce their contracts instead of Apple? Because it's a blatant case of harassing Apple and has nothing to do with protecting consumer interests.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,705member
    Bullshit govt fishing expedition.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,602member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by YvesVilleneuve View Post





    It's clear that the current Canadian Government is not on the side of carriers. It has made decisions to expand the level competition in that industry to the latter's disdain.



    Difficult to prove anti-competitive practices among carriers without evidence of collusion since Canada is a much more sparsely populated country that automatically suggests greater costs to deliver products and services. I'm not absolving the carriers of anti-competitive practices however, but the Competition Bureau needs reasonable cause to investigate and won't unless someone provides it to them in the form of an official complaint.

    Just anecdotally form my own experience, they just need to look at historical pricing to discover that carrier packages are always more expensive for iPhone owners. Every time I have looked at plans for my own, my wife's and my kid's iPhones I have spotted great deals only to be told those deals do not apply to iPhones. I'd go and check right now but looking through the carriers' plans is such a mindfu*k I won't subject myself to it.

  • Reply 14 of 34
    paxman wrote: »
    Just anecdotally form my own experience, they just need to look at historical pricing to discover that carrier packages are always more expensive for iPhone owners. Every time I have looked at plans for my own, my wife's and my kid's iPhones I have spotted great deals only to be told those deals do not apply to iPhones. I'd go and check right now but looking through the carriers' plans is such a mindfu*k I won't subject myself to it.

    "More expensive" is not evidence of anti-competitiveness.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    I'm not exactly sure what the beef with Apple is. The Canadian telecommunications industry (along with many others), is the most uncompetitive and closely protected industry in the country. The telcos and cable companies are amongst the most profitable, richest, and most powerful companies we have. The entire thing seems to be a farce. If anything, Apple has been breaking the power of the telephone companies! They should be lauded for that. Why don't we deal with REAL issues, like size absurd rates we are charged???
  • Reply 16 of 34
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1brayden View Post

    Why don't they investigate the carriers to determine why the country has some of the highest rates for mobile plans anywhere?

    The handsets are a bargain comparatively. I've never seen so many "free" phones offered with a contract.


    According to the OECD, when you compare capping, speed and volume, Canadians do quite well.

     

    Particularly when examining some of the issues that Canadians have had to face that are quite foreign to most countries, e.g.,

     

    • The fluctuating dollar
      • Most of the cost to build the necessary infrastructure was incurred when the Canadian dollar was a high as 25% that of the US
      • The effect of such variance on the pricing structure for mobile phones
    • The cost and expanse to build the infrastructure and purchase mobile phones
      • Using American products, e.g., towers/hardware
      • All mobile devices (except RIM) are foreign 
    • Availability of government subsidies
      • Much of the initial building of foreign mobile networks were paid for by their respective governments, aka the people, not the users
    • The expansive geographical issues and smaller population densities that Canadians are subjected to work with
      • Paying for a network to cover Canada by a population of 30 million is significantly higher per capita compared to the 300 million folks in the US

     

    However, having said that, my experience (with Rogers) tells me our service compared to ATT and Verizon is far superior re speed, volume and support, as well as price. Just recently, my foray into New England last month to visit relatives is some proof of that. Everything was equal or better here, including the price they were paying. (the dollar excluding). Support was significantly inferior for our American cousins.

     

    Now this is not to say, that it would be nice if we were paying less. But having superior healthcare, transportation services and less recently planted flags in our cemeteries somewhat offsets the difference that our neighbours to the south are subject with. 

  • Reply 17 of 34
    Why aren't they demanding the carriers produce their contracts instead of Apple? Because it's a blatant case of harassing Apple and has nothing to do with protecting consumer interests.
    It's more cost effective and more efficient to ask Apple directly. It saves Canadian taxpayers money.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,602member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    "More expensive" is not evidence of anti-competitiveness.

    Exactly. I haven't looked into the details of this case but it looks topsy turvey to me. As far as I am concerned it should be a case against the carriers for not extending the same deals to IOS devices as everybody else. 

  • Reply 19 of 34
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,459member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

     

    ...


    • All mobile devices are foreign 

    ...


     

    THERE it is....it's all about RIM !!!!

  • Reply 20 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Why aren't they demanding the carriers produce their contracts instead of Apple? Because it's a blatant case of harassing Apple and has nothing to do with protecting consumer interests.



    According to AppleInsider's article on Monday, they already did that:

     

    Both Apple and its carrier partners in Canada have been asked to turn over documents dating back to the Canadian introduction of the original iPhone in July 2008. Apple has reportedly delivered "some" documents, while carriers have provided more than 2,500 such records.

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