News Mar 15, 2017 06:05 AM EDT

Apple found guilty of price-fixing practices in Russia, regulator says

By April Kirstin Chua

Tech giant Apple is found guilty of fixing the price of iPhones in Russia for several years.

The antitrust regulator, Federal Antimonopoly Service, claims an Apple local subsidiary tried to coordinate the price at which businesses can sell its iPhones, according to media reports.

Russia's antimonopoly agency says the Apple local subsidiary told 16 retailers to fix the prices of iPhone 5 and 6 models. FAS Deputy Head Andrei Tsarikovsky further stated that they didn't found any signs of price coordination for the latest iPhone 7 phones.

"We reviewed the case, starting from iPhone 5s and up to iPhone 6s. As for the iPhone 7, we did not find supporting documents," he told reporters.

Apple, on the other hand, did not offer to give their comments on the subject. The tech giant will, reportedly, have three months to appeal the ruling. Should Apple fail to succeed on the appeal, it could be fined more than 15 percent of its Russian sales.

FAS says Apple has since cooperated with the investigation after it was found guilty of fixing iPhone prices. Accordingly, Apple has ended its price-fixing practices and the regulator has set up measures to prevent the company from doing the same thing in the future.

FAS will set up antitrust compliance and training protocols to prevent similar actions. Last year, FAS suspected Apple of setting prices in Russia for its products and claimed that "wherever you go if you want to buy an iPhone, prices are the same everywhere," Tsarikovsky said in a statement released in a Russian News Agency. If a retailer sold an iPhone at an appropriate price, Apple will then send emails to those retailers asking them to change it and this mechanism as per FAS is wrong in all aspects.

Regulators in Europe had a similar case and have increased scrutinizing American tech companies due to its alleged inappropriate practices. The Russian competition watchdog also found, last year, Google guilty of forcing smartphone makers to feature its own services more prominently than Android phones. European regulators have been cracking down Google and Facebook for publishing hate speech and fake news. 

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