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Japan’s FTC Investigating Apple On Its Relationship With Suppliers In Japan

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Apple is currently under probe by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission. The commission is investigating to know if the phone maker abused its power in violation of anti-monopoly rules and over the pressures it mounted on its Japanese suppliers, as reported by the Mainichi newspaper.

The commission discovered that the tech giant, last year, may have breached antitrust rules on the day it sold its iPhones. Reports showed that Apple signed contracts compelling firms to provide free technology and the procedure to its affiliates for parts manufacturing.

For its own selfish gains, the phone maker also pressured some suppliers to reduce or lower the prices of components and prohibited them from supplying the same components to other companies. Amidst this stringent proposal, it expected the suppliers to shoulder the costs of any unforeseen issues they encounter.

When a company took it up against the phone maker and accused them of infringement of intellectual property rights and demanded a revision of the contract, Apple allegedly threatened to end their business relationship altogether.

Both Apple and Japan Fair Trade Commission have made a press release or a public comment addressing the situation.

Apple has been quite popular with antitrust accusations in the last one year. It’s currently facing a suit in South Korea and Europe over abusing its dominant position as phone maker and imposing ridiculous conditions for selling iPhones. In Europe, Apple obligates the music streaming app to pay a 30% before it can use in-app purchases when signing up new subscribers. Apparently, Spotify wanted to the EU to probe Apple Music in relation to how it treats its competitor’s vs its own business.

A supreme court in May ruled against Apple in antitrust lawsuit allowing consumers to sue anyone who delivers a product for antitrust damages. Apple was accused of monopoly and unfair charges ultimately suffered by consumers.

Last year, Japan FTC investigated Apple over allegations of putting under pressure to slow down the expansion process of its online games’ platform, a competitor of its App store. A potential US investigation is by the corner, with the tech giant facing allegations of its App store policies giving too much power over app sales and in-app purchases.            

Certainly, this is not a good moment for the phone maker, just when it’s set to count its loses after the tariff threat.

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