Japan considers antitrust action against Apple over iPhone carrier deals

Posted:
in iPhone
The Japanese government is considering pursuing an antitrust case against Apple because of its local carrier deals, a report said on Friday, echoing similar complaints in other countries.




Japan's Fair Trade Commission recently noted that the country's leading carriers -- NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, and Softbank -- were refusing to sell surplus iPhones to third-party retailers, hampering the latter's competitiveness, according to Reuters. Sources claimed the reason is the carriers' deals with Apple, which are believed to prevent local surplus sales and instead push excess stock to overseas markets like Hong Kong.

The carriers are also said to be buying iPhones in bulk and selling them at sharp discounts, giving Apple another edge. While DoCoMo is selling both the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 for 93,960 yen ($932) off-contract, the iPhone 7 is just 38,232 yen ($379) under a two-year agreement, much cheaper than the 54,432 yen ($540) for a Galaxy S7 under identical terms.

Apple largely refused to comment when asked by Reuters, simply directing the news agency to a webpage promoting its economic benefits to Japan.

Government sources said they're hoping pressure on carriers could solve problems without any further intervention, possibly by getting them to renegotiate with Apple.

Should the FTC have to take further steps though, it could wield cease-and-desist orders and fines -- the latter potentially costing hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the severity of the violation.

Japan is just the latest region to raise concerns about Apple's iPhone deals. The European Union has probed the matter, and more recently South Korea launched an investigation.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    It amazes me the Reuters report referenced Samsung multiple times while referencing the Japanese Sony absolutely zero times. This made me wonder who was being paid to assist Samsung competing with Apple in Japan. I also wondered what was in the Samsung contracts that disallowed deeper discounts. I hope carriers reveal to authorities that Samsung is at fault for the less than favorable discounts not Apple. 
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,095member
    >. The carriers are also said to be buying iPhones in bulk and selling them at sharp discounts, giving Apple another edge. 

    Apple gives NO ONE bulk discounts that are worth a damn.  The article must be false.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    Signing up to the TPP is fucking Japan up even more than I thought it would.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    The complaints against Apple didn't mention anticompetitive behavior that would justify government scrutiny. It seems to be a complaint by independent retailers, not the customers whom antitrust policy attempts to protect. The retailers want iPhones, but don't want to order them from Apple.
    airbubblepalominejbdragonbrakken
  • Reply 5 of 7
    Stupid Japanese government needs to investigate the carriers instead. My two year contract is up. SoftBank is selling me the iPhone 7 plus at 14,000 yen over retail, raising my data plan cost, and providing a "discount" for signing up for the next two year contract. No, see the phone looks cheap but I pay $70-100 USD a month depending on if I make a few phone calls. It's very expensive.
    ksec
  • Reply 6 of 7
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,493member
    The complaints against Apple didn't mention anticompetitive behavior that would justify government scrutiny. It seems to be a complaint by independent retailers, not the customers whom antitrust policy attempts to protect. The retailers want iPhones, but don't want to order them from Apple.
    Ahh, I see your mistake. You still belive antitrust authorities exist for consumers! I can understand that, some if them even put ' consumer' in thir name, after all. At the end of the day like all things originally set up for the public good like most bureaucracies they end up partly a barrier to entry for new players or mostly a regulatory impost to competition amongst existing players.
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