Russia Concludes Apple Guilty of iPhone Price-Fixing

Russia’s anti-monopoly agency has found Apple guilty of coordinating the prices of its iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 models, reports the Financial Times.

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In a press release issued today and marking the end of a seven-month investigation, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) says Apple illegally instructed 16 Russian retailers to hold the prices of iPhone models and even contacted them when they sold the handsets at “inappropriate” prices.

The FAS suspected that Apple was in a position to terminate contracts with retailers if they didn’t comply with the pricing instructions.

When the accusations were made seven months ago, Apple denied any wrongdoing, which was expected from the company. Apple then said the prices were set by retailers in Russia and other markets.

But that message has “slightly” changed since the FAS announced its findings:

“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.”

Apple has worked closely with the agency, deputy head Andrey Tsarikovsky told the Financial Times. It has adopted the necessary measures to “eliminate violations of the law and is pursuing a policy to prevent similar violations in the future”, he added.

Apple isn’t the only US company that has been found guilty of violating competition regulations: Google was in the same boat a few months ago, when the FAS highlighted that the search giant had forced smartphone manufacturers to give Google products prominence on their devices.

The fine Apple will need to pay is not yet known. It is expected to be up to 15% of its Russian unit sales, but the final number will be decided in the coming months. Apple has three months to challenge the FAS’s ruling in court.