Busted for forcing mobile providers to offer subsidies and sell iPhones at a discount.
Japanese regulators said on Wednesday Apple Inc 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.
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said that the Japanese unit of Apple had forced NTT Docomo Inc, KDDI Corp and SoftBank Group Corp to offer subsidies and sell iPhones at a discount.
“Obliging carriers to offer subsidies (for iPhones) could have prevented the carriers from offering lower monthly charges and restricted competition,” the FTC said in a statement.
The FTC, which began looking into Apple’s sales practices in 2016, did not punish Apple as the U.S. company had agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers, it said…
The carriers sold the iPhones at a discount, the FTC said, giving Apple an advantage over rivals such as Samsung Electronics.
My take: Doesn’t seem like a big enough deal to shave $11 billion off Apple’s market cap before sunrise.
UPDATE: Readers on Twitter tell me that tech stocks are down across the board on trade issues, particularly the new Chinese tariffs. That makes more sense.