Taiwan antitrust agency fines Apple for iPhone pricing

Apple has been fined NT$20 million (US$663,332) by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission

Apple has been fined NT$20 million (US$663,332) by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission for interfering with the pricing of the iPhone by three mobile carriers, according to reports.

The antitrust agency found Apple's unit in charge of Taiwan sales violated article 18 of the Taiwan's Fair Trade Act by asking operators Chunghwa Telecom, Far Eastone Telecommunications and Taiwan Mobile to submit pricing plans for approval by Apple, which had also recommended changes in the prices.

Apple's agreements with the operators are said to have stipulated, for example, that subsidies these companies offer for buying iPhones with contracts cannot be lower than those of their competitors.

The Fair Trade Commission had not issued a statement on the order on its English website, though a Chinese version was available.

Article 18 of the Fair Trade Act states that "Where an enterprise supplies goods to its trading counterpart for resale to a third party or such third party makes further resale, the trading counterpart and the third party shall be allowed to decide their sale prices freely; any agreement contrary to this provision shall be void."

Apple could face an additional fine of up to NT$50 million if it fails to comply with the Fair Trade Commission's ruling that the company should immediately stop the practice of trying to control iPhone prices, according to the reports. Apple can appeal the ruling.

The iPhone maker could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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