As a leading technology company, Apple often has free reign over all aspects of their product distribution, even parts of the production cycle they have no direct hand in. Ever notice that iPhones cost the same at Best Buy, Radio Shack and most other retailers? That’s because those companies abide by Apple’s uniform pricing standards.
However, that ability to set prices for retailers isn’t a given in other countries. Case in point: Taiwan. On Dec. 24, Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission fined Apple 20 million New Taiwan dollars (U.S. $670,000) for interfering with mobile service providers and handset distributors’ pricing.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Taiwanese government found Apple violated Article 18 of Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act by telling three of Taiwan’s main service providers what price to sell iPhones. In addition, the governmental body accused Apple of asking the three companies to adjust usage rates.
In Taiwan, individual companies hold the right to price a product however it wishes after purchasing the product from a manufacturer. According to the commission, Apple held no right to try and influence pricing after it sold its iPhones to the distributors.
“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,” the Commission said in a statement.
Apple is allowed to file an appeal with the Fair Trade Commission. However, if it does not comply with the order, Apple is subject to further fines of NT$50 million.
Attorneys for U.S.-based Apple must be racking up frequent flier miles given the wide variety of forums in which the company has recently faced regulatory or litigation action. A South Korean court ruled on Dec. 13 that Apple did not violate Samsung patents within the country, and the European Union has come close to a settlement with Samsung over allegations that the technology company used overly-litigious tactics against Apple and others to hold onto key patents.
Apple has been all over legal news recently, and InsideCounsel has had it covered: