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Russia’s Anti-Monopoly Agency Holds Apple Guilty of Price Fixing for its iPhones

Russia’s Anti-Monopoly Agency Holds Apple Guilty of Price Fixing for its iPhones
After Russia’s anti-monopoly agency said Apple Inc had arranged for retailers to co-ordinate the prices of its iPhone models, the US company has been found guilty of price-fixing in Russia.
In a charge that could lead to the California-based company being fined, Apple’s Russian subsidiary had allegedly illegally ordered retailers to fix prices of its iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 products, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service said on Tuesday.
The FAS said in a statement after a seven-month investigation that in the event that any products were being sold at “inappropriate” prices, Apple had contacted 16 Russian retailers after instructing them to hold the prices of its iPhone models. If pricing guidelines were not met, Apple was able to terminate sale agreements with retailers, suspects the FAS.
Apple said that resellers set their own prices for products in Russia and other markets and denied the charge when the investigation was announced in August.
“We worked closely with FAS during their investigation and are glad to put this matter behind us. We work hard to make the best products and services in the world for our customers and are deeply committed to making sure our resellers are able to compete fairly in the markets where we do business,” a company spokesperson said after the Russian announcement.
“In the course of the proceedings the Russian subsidiary of Apple actively co-operated with the FAS,” said the agency’s deputy head, Andrey Tsarikovsky. “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.” 
By forcing smartphone manufacturers to give Google products prominence on their devices, ooogle had also been found guilty by Russia’s anti-monopoly agency about seven months ago. The US technology company was fined 438m roubles ($7.4m). 
After a consumer complaint, its case against Apple was opened by Russia’s FAS, which in 2011 also fined two mobile operators for price-fixing iPhone 4 models.
Mr Tsarikovsky said that after the full decision is published later this month, Apple will have three months to challenge the decision in court.
Mr Tsarikovsky told Russia’s Interfax news agency that as much as 15 per cent of Apple’s Russian unit’s sales could be the fine under the anti-monopoly regulations but the final amount would be decided in a few months.
According to the US Justice Department, resulting in some ebook prices rising to $12.99 or $14.99 from the market leader Amazon’s $9.99 price, Apple was found guilty of conspiring with five publishers to fix the prices of ebooks by a New York appeals court in June 2015. After the US Supreme Court declined to hear Apple's challenge a $450m settlement to US consumers as compensation was agreed to be paid up by Apple.
The Russian agency said it had dropped its investigation against other due to lack of evidence even though the Russian iPhone probe also involved Apple Inc and a number of its international subsidiaries.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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