Back in March, we reported that European Union regulators were beginning to take a look at Apple's contracts with carriers, questioning whether Apple's strict terms regarding sales commitments and other factors have amounted to anti-competitive behavior.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top Rated Comments
An excellent incentive to run the company squeaky-clean. What other company could stand this kind of intense scrutiny? Go :apple:
Oh, sure! Because Apple NEVER does anything wrong to customers or clients. Any complain must be the product of a competitor's envy,and nothing else. Always.
Having lived and worked in both the U.S. and EU I'll take the EU any day when it comes to looking after the consumer.
What? Apple was the company which allowed carriers to disable hotspot, 3G facetime and large apps over 3G.
Carriers might not be able to brand iOS but Apple has certainly made concessions.