EU Regulators Questioning Carriers Over Apple's iPhone Contract Demands
Financial Times now reports that the EU is ramping up its interest in Apple's policies, sending out questionnaires to the carriers in order to gather more information about their agreements with Apple.
The nine-page questionnaire sent to telecoms groups primarily relates to sales practices, including whether Apple forces groups to buy a minimum number of iPhones, restrictions on the use of marketing budgets, and clauses that ensure Apple is always offered no worse subsidies and sales terms than other smartphone makers.While regulators are clearly focused on Apple's behavior, they do acknowledge that competition in the smartphone market has increased, with Samsung rapidly gaining ground and even Nokia and BlackBerry contributing viable alternatives for customers.
It also asks whether Apple places technical or contractual restrictions on the iPhone 5 that mean it cannot be used on high-speed 4G networks in Europe.
The carriers have until June 17 to respond to the questionnaires, and the European Commission will use the results to help it decide whether to launch a formal probe into Apple's tactics.