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Japan's antitrust watchdog considers action against Apple, carriers

26 Comments
By Yoshiyasu Shida

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26 Comments
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When asked about the antitrust concerns, Apple forwarded a link to a webpage published at the time of the Aug. 2 FTC report that says it has created or supports 715,000 jobs in Japan with Japanese-based developers raking in more than $9 billion in revenue from Apple apps since 2008. It did not comment further.

So Apple's response is to threaten the regulators? Rather ballsy move by Apple!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Galaxy S7 is more expendive and wont last long.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So, this move has virtually nothing to do with Apple. It is the carriers that have forced people into buying new phones and not giving them the choice of buying an older model. I fail to see why Apple should be mentioned in the headline. It is also the carriers that have locked the phones to one carrier, not Apple. It's so very common for Japanese lawyers to go after international companies and try to blame them for the misdeeds of the their own companies. The way carriers run in Japan is very close to mafia style extortion. They lock you into two year contracts and charge you a small fortune to break the contract. They also do not give any extensions of service for late payments. "Pay it today or you're cut off!" This article and investigation has virtually nothing to do with Apple or Samsung. It's just an attention grabbing headline.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

if you cannot play on a level playing field you can as well get Kasumigaseki to do the playing for you. Some people are very bitter that J-Phone companies have been beaten fair and square on their home turf. Anti-trust watch dog for J-companies to beat foreign competition rather than J-comsumers gain.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I always thought that the sytem was set up the way it was with virtually all phones being sold through the major carriers to protect Japanese manufacturers.

Of course, that was before smartphones. It should be remembered that not so long ago it used to be impossible to buy an unlocked phone in Japan or get Apple Japan to unlock your phone for you.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

kiyoshiMukai: "Galaxy S7 is more expendive and wont last long."

Isn't it also the one that catches fire and is not allowed on flights as a result?

Anyway, this is DEFINITELY the work of the carriers, and less likely Apple. Remember when Apple first wanted to sell the iPhone here? Docomo and AU flat out refused, saying "We don't need these in Japan. We have our own phones." SoftBank decided to go with them and it was an INSTANT success, with the other companies suddenly crying that SoftBank was monopolising, and saying they should be able to sue over practices they themselves do all the time! Finally they could all do it, and the usual practice of agreed price hikes, and other illegal methods of selling were resumed. Hell, you couldn't even unlock phones until April, by law, and go with smaller companies, and they are STILL fighting Apple pay! And is it any coincidence that all of the carriers are refusing jointly to sell older models? NO! It's the same old illegal price-fixing that keeps these companies looking like the characters in an Ayn Rand novel, and from progress.

Yubaru: "So Apple's response is to threaten the regulators? Rather ballsy move by Apple!"

Given the Japanese company's propensity to screw people over and take others with them, I don't blame Apple for the poorly veiled threat. It's the only thing that will work in taking their name off the suit.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

So, this move has virtually nothing to do with Apple.

It has a lot to do with Apple. Maybe you missed this;

two senior government sources told Reuters that regulators were also focusing on Apple’s supply agreements with all three carriers.

Under those deals, surplus stock of older iPhones is kept out of the market and sent to overseas markets, such as Hong Kong, according to industry sources.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I don't think the issue is Galaxy vs iPhone here. It's Galaxy vs Japanese companies' android phones. How much discount do the carriers give for a Sony or Sharp smartphone?

Also, I think they need to pay more attention to the other aspects of how the big three carriers work to squeeze more money out of customers. In addition to the contracts and early termination fees people have mentioned, how about overcharging for data, or even worse charging you tons for unlimited phone usage, a service that almost no one needs and costs them nothing to provide.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So Apple's response is to threaten the regulators? Rather ballsy move by Apple!

Absolutely. The attempt by regulators to regulate Apple is to squeeze money out of the company and profit themselves, and their partners in the domestic electronics industry. The government loves to go after companies like this because they have so much money. The people are naturally offended by rich companies, and therefore don't necessarily mind when their governments try to extort money out of them.

That Japan threatens anti-trust regulations against Apple is absurd, given that these anti-trust laws are certainly not applied to the likes of Mitsubishi or Mitsui, who own much of the Japanese economy. They own the largest banks, insurance companies, real estate, metals, materials, machinery, etc. A Mitsubishi or Mitsui makes up a far greater part of the Japanese economy than Apple does of the American economy. But once again, these are Japanese companies, and are therefore exempt. Apple is a foreign company which is infringing on Japan Inc's territory, therefor Japan Inc sent their stooges in the government after Apple.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Japan's antitrust watchdog considers action against Apple, carriers

What about price fixing on tariffs, as an example of modelling anticompetitive behaviour for the rest of Japan to follow?

See No Evil?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What about price fixing on tariffs, as an example of modelling anticompetitive behaviour for the rest of Japan to follow?

See No Evil?

See no Evil when your masters are Japanese companies and government. They are one and the same.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The attempt by regulators to regulate Apple is to squeeze money out of the company and profit themselves.

Apple, like any other company, is supposed to pay tax on the profits it makes. It's been shown that they haven't been doing that, and were underreporting their Japan income, funneling it off to Ireland as usual. Rectifying that isn't squeezing money out of them, it's making them pay money that should have been paid in the first place.

This latest report shows that they may be (I'll take it as "are") colluding with carriers here. Such behaviour isn't new to Apple, they were found guilty in 2014 of fixing e-book prices, in collusion with 5 major publishers. They lost their appeal, and the Supreme Court chucked out their application for a hearing.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@blackbagger

Exactly. The ridiculously high fees for data which the providers charge, the early contract-termination fees, etc. etc. No need to look any further to find unfair practices.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyone who cant see that (BAD) apple is in on this isn't looking closely enough. Apple like many companies have been screwing over suppliers & customs & govts alike, world wide.

There is TONS of collusion, price fixing, market sharing going on in Japan always has been.

Would be nice to more REALLY get busted for it, rather than just having the people pay higher prices for low value!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

My daughters always get discontinued models at steep discounts with their carrier, making their payments very affordable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it has to do with Apple pay service and Felica and Suica compatible iPhones.When this service is introduced to the new iPhones, Japanese people will never look at another Japanese electronic device again.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Dies Apple-pay work on Suica, Pasmo, Edy and the other ticketing services used for commuters in Japan.

Japan's payment systems are well established may it be via physical card or existing Felica devices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dies Apple-pay work on Suica, Pasmo, Edy and the other ticketing services used for commuters in Japan.

Is that a question? If it is, then Apple-pay doesn't work with Suica and Passmo yet, but will from next month. I'm not sure about Edy, but I would imagine that it would since they are all on the same Felica system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Apple -pay in Japan IS a Felica system in Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Felica is just the chip/standard, doubt that Apple-pay will be more than just an additional service that it can handle. Also doubt that people whose Keitai been using Felica for some time already will suddenly buy go and buy iPhone.

For shops Apple-pay will mean they need to use an additional payment service = more accounting and paperwork.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Apple is rotten as are the phone Japanese companies. No free market. Japanese choice to contribute and never complain politically to those blatant frauds over client. You know that if you useyour brain and think twice before buying,you could just decide to say no to that system. I did thztin France like many. Now,I got my Samsung A3 (2016)for 250 euros (about 30,000 yens) and pay monthly 2 euros for 2 hours and 50 Mo. One can pay 18 euros monthly for unlimited voice AND data. Japan has long by now be unfriendly to electronics/IT usage because of market control. All companies are to blame, and politicians.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

One has to wonder how different the agreements Apple signed w/ Japanese distributors are from those signed by foreign distributors of Japanese products. Typically, discontinued models are either discounted or returned for credit to the importer or manufacturer, if the company wants customers to purchase the most recent model.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“We are getting closer to taking action.”

hahahahahahaha

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pacech: "Also doubt that people whose Keitai been using Felica for some time already will suddenly buy go and buy iPhone."

I doubt they will either, unless that's what's been keeping them from switching. But it WILL be an added function for those that have iPhones who have until now been barred from using it by the Japanese system. Doesn't mean any extra paperwork for me, and I'll be happy to use it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Japanese mobile market in general is a cartel with next to zero competition. Softbank did initially shake things up a bit but it was only back in 2015 that carriers were forced to stop sim locking their devices. That is so backward. So yes, it is time the regulator stepped in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Anyway, this is DEFINITELY the work of the carriers, and less likely Apple. "

I kind of expected this. In many people's eyes, Apple can do no wrong, and Japanese companies can do no right. Other posters have noted that Apple is a tax cheat many times over. It has become the big brother it railed against in its 1984 ads.

Remember when it was Microsoft getting beat up by the anti-trust people? Apple was cheering then, and now here we are.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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