The Wall Street Journal reports that Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has fined Apple approximately US$670,000 for its attempts to influence phone pricing set by distributors and service providers in the region. According to a statement from the commission, Apple was forcing at least three carriers to submit pricing plans for iPhone ahead of offering the devices for sale:
“Through the email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies we discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market,” it said in a statement.
The report adds that Apple could face an additional fine of NT$50 million (around $1.7 million US) if it doesn’t change its current methods of negotiating iPhone pricing plans with carriers:
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It found the Cupertino-based company violated article 18 of Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act by telling Taiwan’s three main service providers how much to sell iPhones for. Apple also asked Chunghwa Telecom Co., Far Eastone Telecommunication Co. and Taiwan Mobile Co. to adjust rates.
The U.S. computer company has no right to meddle in companies’ iPhone pricing plans after selling them distribution rights, the commission said. The three carriers can distribute or resell iPhones at their complete discretion after paying Apple for those rights, the commission added.
Apple will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling, but that could leave it subject to the additional $1.7 million in fines if it decides not to comply with the commission’s request.