Apple's distributiorship tactics subject to review

By Marc Castro

Sep 25, 2013 03:13 PM EDT

The French Ministry of Finance is currently investigating the conditions Apple imposes on its mobile operators who sell their smartphones. This was reported by French media outlet BFMTV.

The DGCCRF, the administrative body tasked with consumer protection and assuring competition, is looking into a number of provisions in the contracts of Apple with its mobile operators. These provisions pertain to sales volume requisites, advertising restrictions and sales commissions provided to staff.

The inquiry comes after operators such as Orange of France and SFR of Vivendi had privately complained of the leverage Apple has over negotiations as no operator can afford not having the iPhone on its product line-up.

Aside from the inquiry, the French office of Apple was searched last July by antitrust regulators from the Competition Authority, who is conducting a parallel investigation on Apple's relationship with its shareholders. On another front, the European Union also looked into possible violations of antitrust regulations as to the distribution of Apple's iPhones and iPads.

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