“Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s distribution practices for iPhones and iPad tablets are being examined by European Union antitrust regulators who said they’ll act if they see any behavior harmful to customers,” Aoife White reports for Bloomberg.

“The European Commission is ‘currently looking at this situation and, more generally, is actively monitoring market developments,’ Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for the Brussels-based authority, said in an e-mail,” White reports. “While regulators were ‘made aware’ of Apple’s distribution methods, they haven’t received any formal complaints, he said. ‘We will intervene if there are indications of anticompetitive behavior to the detriment of consumers,’ Colombani said.”

“everal phone carriers sent the EU information on their distribution contracts with Apple to check whether any terms restricted competition, the New York Times reported today, citing a person briefed on the situation,” White reports. “While the EU is focusing its inquiries on French phone operators, others elsewhere in Europe may also be involved, the newspaper said.”

White reports, “Cupertino, California-based Apple’s contracts ‘fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including in the EU,’ said Alan Hely, a spokesman for the company in London.”

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“The focus is on the commitments carriers must make if they want to carry the iPhone,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“In an SEC report filed last month, Leap Wireless (LEAP) disclosed that it had signed a contract with Apple in May 2012 in which the carrier, in exchange for the right to sell the iPhone, agreed to buy $800 million worth of the devices over the next three years,” P.E.D. reports. “As it turned out, it was a bad deal for Leap, which was selling iPhones in the U.S. on a novel, pay-as-you-go basis. With five months left in its first year commitment Leap was going to have — by one analyst’s estimate — about 160,000 unsold iPhones on its hands.
The European Union doesn’t care about Leap, a U.S. company based in San Diego. But it is concerned about the kind of the deal it struck with Apple.

P.E.D. reports, “According to a report in Friday’s New York Times, European regulators are examining similar contracts that Apple signed with European cellphone carriers for possible antitrust violations.”

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Related article:
EU antitrust regulators monitoring distribution of Apple’s iPhone, iPad – March 22, 2013