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May 28, 2013

European Commission Investigates iPhone Sales Tactics

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

Apple (News - Alert) might be in for a slice of trouble, as the European Commission is investigating its iPhone sales tactics. There are concerns of the company using anti-competitive tactics and technical restrictions, which would prevent rival smartphone makers from entering the market, so the commission is set to find if that is true.

The inquiry was launched with a questionnaire sent to several European mobile network operators, inquiring if there are any distribution terms that Apple may be using to prevent rivals from making better deals. This would unfairly tilt things in Apple’s advantage, locking out competitors from being able to compete on even ground.

Naturally, Apple denies any accusations of wrongdoing. According to the company, all its contracts are fully compliant with EU laws; even then, the Samsung (News - Alert) Galaxy is very popular in the EU smartphone market, so Apple does not seem to have an overwhelming domination of the market anyways.

Still, there have been complaints from mobile operators, so it’s the European Commission’s job to look into it. Should they find that Apple is dominant in the market, they can launch a formal probe. Until then, it is just a preliminary investigation.

Given the popularity of Apple products, there shouldn’t be a need to block off the competition. But the business world is a cutthroat environment, and sales figures are never large enough, so there are always companies attempting to tilt the scales in their favor.

Assuming Apple is telling the truth about remaining fully compliant, it could very well just be a matter of disgruntled competitors trying to give Apple bad press, or perhaps Apple is just using loopholes and aggressive tactics that are still within the confines of the law. That will all come to light with the investigation, but only if Apple’s sales really are good enough to draw suspicion.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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