European regulators are looking into Apple’s carrier agreements over antitrust fears

European regulators are looking into Apple’s carrier agreements over antitrust fearsEuropean regulators are looking into Apple’s deals with European carriers over antitrust fears. The European union were supposedly contacted by several cellphone carriers that sell the iPhone after they claimed that the deals throttled competition. The complaints are believed to have come from French carriers however other countries may be involved too. The news comes for The New York Times who have been speaking with people familiar with the matter.

In a statement, the European Commission, the union’s administrative arm, which oversees antitrust enforcement in the 27-nation bloc, confirmed that it was examining Apple’s carrier deals. But it said it had not begun a formal antitrust investigation. The commission is not obligated to act until it receives a formal complaint of anticompetitive behavior. That it is already examining the contracts suggests that it is taking the carriers’ concerns seriously.

“We have been contacted by industry participants and we are monitoring the situation, but no antitrust case has been opened,” said Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for Joaquín Almunia, competition commissioner of the European Union.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told The New York Times ,“Our contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the E.U.” So it looks like Apple has nothing to worry about. There is no doubt that Apple has some strict terms when dealing with carriers and if they want to sell the iPhone they have to agree to them. This has never been an issue so far, as carriers are usually desperate to have the iPhone on their networks; as it is a hugely popular device . These antitrust complaints appear to be confined to the European Union as American carriers seem happy with their deal with Apple although it has been described as aggressive but not unreasonable.

Source: The New York Times

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chrisoldroyd

UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

European regulators are looking into Apple’s carrier agreements over antitrust fears

10 Comments

The European Union is so broke & needs every penny, that I think these kind of lawsuits are going to be consistant. They look at it as free money, so they can keep spening & using it for bail outs.

To be fair the actions of the EU resulted in lower mobile roaming chargers for consumers ripped off by phone companies - they have a good track record in this particular area.

You don't have a clue what you're talking about, that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. First of all this is the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the EU and the EC is funded by member states.

These complaints were submitted by French telecom companies so the EC is obligated to investigate this. Also, Apple has on many occasions ignored European consumer law such as providing the by law mandatory 2 year warranty, for which it has (justly) been fined.

The bailouts have occured by the European Central Bank (ECB) as well as a bailout fund set up by member states, so this has nothing to do with the European Commission's budget.

So please don't make any idiotic statements like "They look at it as free money" or "these kind of lawsuits are going to be consistant", because you're just making yourself look like an idiot. I really can't stand people that say stupid crap about things they know nothing about...

I don't care about carriers but I do care about consumers. Have no idea who is to blame - probably both Apple and the carriers together. Ultimately, being locked into long-term deals where data charges are extortionate benefits only the few and not the many. Technology is not supposed to bankrupt us!

I think this is so interesting, because I would have to assume that carriers are often in collusion.

"Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told The New York Times ,“Our contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the E.U.” So it looks like Apple has nothing to worry about. "

Errr -- did you expect an Apple spokeswoman to say "we don't care about your law...SUCK IT EU!"

All companies do *exactly* as much as they think they can get away with under the law. No more, no less. Microsoft also believed they were in full compliance with the law. The law disagreed, and won -- eventually. I have no idea if Apple similarly crossed the EU's line while trying to tip-toe up against it, but you had better believe Apple is not the sole judge -- or even the most important judge -- of where that line is.

I'm worried about the consumer. I just keep thinking back on how Apple wanted AT&T to offer free tethering and we're told to fuck off by AT&T. These carriers whining about competition either means they couldn't put their bullshit bloat on it, ooor they wanted to sell it for a lower price and Apple didn't allow it...for some reason? Second reason sounds off..I know.