Apple is under scrutiny from the European Union after complaints by operators about subsidies and marketing contribution.
The EU is looking into potential antitrust violations in the distribution of iPhones and iPads. Given the high price of both categories of products, operators have a substantial upfront payment to Apple each time a device is sold. It generally does not start to make money from the device until the second year of the contract. Mobile revealed last year that Apple had upped its charges for operators to contribute to marketing of the iPhone 5.
The propensity of operators to make a complaint could be seen as a sign of Apple's influence starting to wane from its former position of overwhelming market dominance. Historically forking out the huge subsidies for Apple devices was a price worth paying but analysts have expressed growing scepticism about the manufacturer's long-term product roadmap, calling for an entry level iPhone to reinvigorate sales.
Reuters quoted EU Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani, who said: 'There have been no formal complaints, though. Generally, we are actively monitoring developments in this market. We will, of course, intervene if there are indications of anticompetitive behaviour to the detriment of consumers.'
An Apple spokesperson said: 'Our contract fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the EU.'
Author: Graeme Neill