Mystery telcos push EC to investigate Apple

Apple risks being held under the scrutiny of the European Commission over its practices selling the iPad and iPhone, if a group of unnamed phone operators get their way.

European telcos are urging the EC to launch an antitrust investigation looking into Apple’s contracts with operators, claiming the company’s contracts are too strict. However, Commissioner Joaquin Almunia insisted that there is not yet a formal investigation, Macworld UK reports.

The terms of the contracts are blurry. If or when an investigation opens we are likely to get some further clarity about the concerns. A source allegedly told Reuters that Apple demands a “certain level of subsidies and marketing for the iPhone”.

An Apple spokesperson insisted to the Independent that the company’s contracts “fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the EU”.

Apple is not a stranger to the scrutiny of the pesky European Commission. Late last year, it dropped a case against Apple and four other publishers over accusations of ebook price fixing.  

The company has run afoul of other watchdogs, including in Belgium which accused Apple of promoting AppleCare rather than acknowledging existing European consumer law.