Tag Archives: Antitrust

Japan watchdog: Apple may have breached antitrust rules with iPhone
July 11, 2018 6:43 am|Comments (0)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese regulators on Wednesday said Apple Inc (AAPL.O) may have breached antitrust rules by forcing mobile service providers to sell its iPhones cheaply and charge higher monthly fees, denying consumers a fair choice.

FILE PHOTO: A member of Apple staff takes pictures as new iPhone X begins to sell at an Apple Store in Beijing, China November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said that Apple had forced NTT Docomo Inc (9437.T) , KDDI Corp (9433.T) and SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) to offer subsidies and sell iPhones at a discount.

The FTC, which began looking into Apple’s sales practices in 2016, did not punish Apple as the U.S. company had agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers, it said.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Yoshiyasu Shida; Editing by Ritsuko Ando

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Qualcomm asks EU court to scrap $1.2 billion antitrust fine
June 4, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM.O) has asked Europe’s second-highest court to throw out a 997 million euro ($ 1.2 billion) fine levied by European Union antitrust regulators, citing numerous errors in the EU decision.

Visitors are seen by a booth of Qualcomm Inc at the China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China May 27, 2018. Picture taken May 27, 2018.  REUTERS/Stringer

The European Commission penalized the company in January for paying Apple (AAPL.O) to use only its chips in its iPhones and iPads, giving rival Intel (INTC.O) no chance of getting a share of the market.

The EU competition enforcer’s ruling was marked by errors in procedures and law, Qualcomm said in its appeal to the Luxembourg-based General Court, according to a filing in the Commission’s Official Journal on Monday.

Judges typically take several years to rule on such cases.

Qualcomm is also involved in another EU antitrust case where it has been accused of selling chipsets below cost to drive out British phone software maker Icera, which is now a unit of Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O).

The appeal is Qualcomm/Commission T-235/18.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Jane Merriman

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Top U.S. antitrust official uncertain of need for four wireless carriers
June 1, 2018 6:11 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, declined on Friday to support the Obama administration’s firm backing of the need for four U.S. wireless carriers.

FILE PHOTO: A man uses a smartphone in New York City, in this picture taken November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Asked about T-Mobile’s plan to buy Sprint for $ 26 billion, Delrahim declined to reiterate the view of President Barack Obama’s enforcers, who had said that four wireless carriers were needed.

Instead, Delrahim told reporters, “I don’t think there’s any magical number that I’m smart enough to glean.”

He also said the department would look at the companies’ arguments that the proposed merger was needed for them to build the next generation of wireless, referred to as 5G, but that they had to prove their case.

Bill Baer, a former head of the antitrust division, had told the New York Times in 2014: “It’s going to be hard for someone to make a persuasive case that reducing four firms to three is actually going to improve competition for the benefit of American consumers.”

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Dan Grebler

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Samsung faces new pressure on group structure after criticism by antitrust head
May 10, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, Samsung Group [SAGR.UL], came for fresh criticism about its ownership structure on Thursday, with the country’s antitrust chief saying it was unsustainable.

FILE PHOTO – Samsung Group chief, Jay Y. Lee, is surrounded by media as he arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

Korea Fair Trade Commission chief Kim Sang-jo took aim at the group’s circular shareholdings between companies such as Samsung C&T, Samsung Life Insurance, and Samsung Electronics.

The structure has enabled the family of Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee to retain control of the companies in the conglomerate, especially crown jewel Samsung Electronics, with minimum investments, critics have said.

“The clear fact is, the current ownership and control structure of Samsung Group, which goes from Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee to Samsung C&T to Samsung Life Insurance to Samsung Electronics, is not sustainable,” Kim told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with business leaders.

Samsung Group’s complex ownership structure has come for criticism earlier too, most notably from U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management, which proposed as a solution in 2016 that Samsung Electronics split itself into two.

Samsung Electronics rejected that proposal but accepted part of the fund’s proposals by announcing plans to cancel its existing treasury shares worth over $ 35 billion by 2018.

Fair Trade Commission’s Kim said he urges Jay Y. Lee to make a decision concerning the ownership structure, adding that Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Yoon Boo-keun, who attended the meeting, had told him it will be considered.

A Samsung Electronics spokesman did not have an immediate comment.

Others have also questioned the group’s ownership structure recently.

The country’s top financial regulator said on Wednesday that Samsung Life Insurance must consider ways to lessen the risk of having too much of its assets concentrated in one place, including selling some or all of Samsung Life’s stake in Samsung Electronics.

“Lessening the risk of concentrated assets is key to securing financial stability, which is what we are interested in,” said Choi Jong-ku, Chairman of the Financial Services Commission.

“If there are any concerns about retaining management control (of Samsung Electronics) we are saying, look for ways to keep it while lessening the risk.”

Samsung Life Insurance is at the heart of a cross-shareholding structure in which it owns about 8 percent of Samsung Electronics, which has a market value of about $ 340 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Yuna Park; Additional reporting and writing by Joyce Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Italy's anti-trust opens probe into Apple, Samsung phone complaints
January 18, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust has opened a probe into allegations that Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd used software updates deliberately to speed up the ageing process of their products.

The antitrust body said in a statement it would investigate whether the two firms made their products obsolete to stimulate new purchases.

Apple acknowledged last month that iPhone software had the effect of slowing down some phones with battery problems, but denied that it had ever done anything to intentionally shorten the life of a product. [nL1N1OK282]

Reporting by Crispian Balmer

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