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Apple found guilty of price-fixing in Russia

American giant Apple has been found guilty of price-fixing in Russia, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service in Moscow announced, according to BBC News.

More specifically, Apple forced retailers to coordinate the prices for its iPhone models. Russian authorities announced that Apple’s Russian subsidiary forced distributors to impose certain prices for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6.

The American company has allegedly forced 16 Russian retailers to maintain the prices for the iPhone models and it shall contact them should the products be sold at “inappropriate” prices, according to the Service.

The authorities also suspect that Apple was canceling contracts if the companies didn’t respect the indications regarding the prices.

When the investigation was announced in August last year, Apple denied the accusations and claimed that distributors and retailers from Russia have the freedom of setting their own prices.

Apple is risking a fine of up to 15% of its sales in Russia. This is to be established the following months.

The decision against Apple comes a few months after Google was found guilty of dominant position abuse, by forcing manufacturers of electronics with Android to prominently display Google services. The company received a fine of $7,4mn.

Professional network LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft, was blocked in Russia following a court decision.

American companies are being pressured in Russia and China on the backdrop of political divergences between the two regional powerhouses and the world’s largest economy.

On the other hand, Apple does not have a past without stains, either. In 2015, the company was found guilty of conspiring, alongside five publishing houses, of price-fixing electronic books. The companies targeted a price increase from $9,99 per unit – the price on Amazon – leading to prices of $12,99 and $14,99. Apple later paid $450mn in compensations to consumers.

Daniel Higgson