Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service has found Apple guilty of fixing the price of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 in the country.
Russia first opened investigations into the issue last autumn, at which time Apple denied the accusations and insisted that retailers were solely responsible for setting the price of its products.
However, The Financial Times reports authorities have now concluded that Apple instructed 16 retailers to sell the devices at a set price, and warning them that failure to do so could result in the termination of their sales agreement.
“The investigation revealed that since the start of official sales in Russia of the Apple iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, most resellers installed the same prices on them as recommended by Apple Rus and supported them for about 3 months,” the FAS said.
“At the same time, Apple Russia monitored retail prices for Apple iPhone smartphones installed by resellers in online stores and retail outlets, and, in case of setting ‘unsuitable’ prices, the Russian subsidiary Apple sent emails to resellers with a request to change them. Also, compliance with recommended retail prices by resellers could be due to the provisions of contracts between Apple Rus and resellers.”
Apple, while not commenting officially, has apparently complied with the agency’s orders, with the FAS adding: “The company has adopted the necessary measures to eliminate violations of the law and is pursuing a policy to prevent similar violations in the future.”
It’s not yet known in Apple will challenge the ruling, or what punishment it will face. Potentially, however, it might have to surrender 15 per cent of its Russian sales revenue.