Japan’s FTC investigating Apple's dealings with local parts dealers

Japan's Fair Trade Commission is investigating Apple's dealings with local parts makers, some of which signed contracts with the tech giant that could violate antimonopoly laws, reports Reuters.

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The investigation is the latest by the country’s regulators against the tech giant after the FTC found last year that the company may have breached antitrust rules on the way it sold its iPhones in Japan. In 2018, 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.