The European Commission is taking a closer look at the sales methods of Apple. Europe wants to see if Apple uses unfair sales tricks for its iPhone or if it imposes technical limitations that are a strong disadvantage for competitors.
Questionnaire to mobile operators
According to British business paper Financial Times the European Commission has sent out a questionnaire to several mobile operators. They focus mainly on the distribution policies of the iPhone.
The list has questions about possible obligations to buy a set number of devices, obligations concerning marketing budgets and even clauses that guarantee Apple that competitors will never get better conditions.
Other questions are about possible technical and contractual limitations Apple would impose, causing the iPhone 5 for example not to work (yet) on 4G-networks in certain EU-countries.
Brussels also wants to know if Apple forces the operators in some way to always use the iPhone as favourite example in “written or spoken statements”.
If the suspicions are true, it would mean the access of other smartphone producers to certain markets would be made very difficult or even impossible. The EU has a long way to go though: to sentence Apple, the Union has to prove that Apple is a dominant player on the smartphone market and with the current success of Samsung that could be difficult.
Apple says it always keeps to European regulations, says the Financial Times.