Apple Illegally Fixed iPhone Prices in Russia
Apple ordered retailers in Russia to illegally set prices of certain iPhones, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) ruled on Tuesday.
The ruling comes after a months-long investigation that began last summer into Apple's retail practices in the country, the Financial Times reported. The FAS ruling applies to iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 pricing, with Apple reportedly telling retailers that it would terminate sales agreements if the devices were not sold at approved prices.
Apple initially rejected the price-fixing claims last summer, with the company telling Reuters that "resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world." In the U.S. market, iPhones and other Apple products are rarely seen at discounted prices, although mobile carriers offer exclusive deals for buying a phone in conjunction with a service plan.
An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday's decision, and the company told the FT simply that it "worked closely with FAS during their investigation and are glad to put this matter behind us." An FAS spokesperson confirmed Apple's cooperation, telling the FT that the company has "adopted the necessary measures to eliminate violations of the law."
The decision could still pave the way for a fine, although it's not clear how much. Recent fines that Russian authorities have levied on American tech companies have been relatively small, including a $6.8 million penalty against Google for illegally bundling Android apps.
Meanwhile, the European Union has been much more aggressive in seeking financial penalties for illegal behavior. EU regulators last year slapped Google with a $3.4 billion levy for abusing its position in the search market.