Japanese regulators are considering taking action against Apple over possible antitrust violations, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports.
Japan sensing a bad Apple. Reuters has learned regulators there are considering taking action against Apple over possible antitrust violations. Government sources said they're focusing on the iPhone maker's supply deal with three local carriers that may have helped it dominate the market. Apple accounts for nearly one in every two smartphones sold in Japan, making it one of its most profitable markets. Japan's Fair Trade Commission said NTT Docomo, KDDI, and Softbank were refusing to sell older surplus iPhone models to third party retailers. Sources say those older phones are sent to overseas markets. Sources also say the carriers buy the iPhones in bulk and sell them at a discount. Docomo sells the iPhone 7 at a price 30 percent lower than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge under a two-year contract. A government official told Reuters, "The actions of the three operators alone do not account for the state of the market. We are getting closer to taking action." Asked about the antitrust concerns, Apple forwarded a link to a webpage saying it creates or supports 715,000 jobs in Japan and would not comment further. NTT Docomo said it's considering its response. KDDI said it has followed guidelines. Software said it would work with regulators.