This past August, Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said that Apple may have orchestrated a price-fixing scheme in the country via its network of Apple authorized resellers, an allegation Apple vehemently denied.
“Resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world,” Apple said at the time.
Now, seven months later, Russia’s FAS has found Apple guilty of price-fixing the retail price of iPhones in the country. Per the Financial Times, Apple told upwards of 16 resellers that they couldn’t sell various iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 models below a certain price. To this point, the FAS’ investigation found that all Apple resellers just so happened to initiate the same pricing structure across multiple iPhone models at launch.
A translated FAS statement on the matter reads in part:
The investigation revealed that from the start of official sales in Russia Apple iPhone 5s models, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus the majority of resellers have installed on them the same prices that are recommended of “Apple Rus”, and supported them for about 3 months.
The FAS further claims that resellers not willing to cooperate with Apple’s iPhone pricing matrix risked losing their partnership with the Cupertino-based company. Notably, the investigation found no evidence of price fixing with respect to the iPhone 7.
Apple hasn’t yet issued a statement on the ruling but the company reportedly has three months to file a formal defense on the matter. If Apple’s appeal falls flat, the company may be subject to fines equal to 15% of iPhone sales in the country.
As a final point, it’s worth noting that Apple cooperated with the FAS investigation and has reportedly enacted new guidelines to prevent the alleged price fixing behavior from happening again in the future.
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