Japanese regulators at the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) say Apple may have breached antitrust rules by forcing mobile service providers to sell its iPhones cheaply and charge higher monthly fees, denying consumers a fair choice, reports Reuters.
The FTC said that the Japanese unit of the Cupertino, California-based company forced NTT Docomo, KDDI Corp., and SoftBank Group Corp. to offer subsidies and sell its smartphones at a discount. “Obliging carriers to offer subsidies (for iPhones) could have prevented the carriers from offering lower monthly charges and restricted competition,” the regulator agency said in a statement.
However, it added that it wasn’t punishing Apple as the company has agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers. This isn’t the first brush-up between the tech giant and Japanese officials.
In 2016, Apple’s iTunes unit in Japan was ordered to pay some 12 billion yen (about $118 million) in tax by local authorities after underreporting income. The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined that the unit, which sends part of its profits earned from fees paid by Japan subscribers to another Apple unit in Ireland to pay for software licensing, hadn’t been paying a withholding tax on those earnings in Japan.