Canadian watchdog goes to court to probe Apple's iPhone deals with mobe networks

Sorry, eh?

Watchdogs in Canada are investigating Apple over concerns the iPhone giant violated antitrust laws in its dealings with Canadian telcos.

A spokesperson for Canada's Competition Bureau confirmed the Cupertino goliath is the subject of a probe into possible violations of the nation's Competition Act.

"I can confirm that the Bureau is looking into concerns related to alleged anti-competitive clauses that Apple Canada Inc. uses in its contracts with wireless carriers for the supply of iPhones," the spokesman told The Register.

"At this time, the Bureau’s inquiry is ongoing and no decision has been made in terms of enforcement action."

The investigators have sought a court order, citing parts of the Competition Act, to compel Apple Canada to hand over information, including written records.

According to the Globe and Mail, investigators are focusing on whether the supply contracts Apple signed with the cell networks included clauses that would be considered anticompetitive.

Apple in the past leveraged the popularity of its iPhone to ink lucrative exclusive deals with carriers – so that if you wanted an iOS mobe under contract, there was only one place to shop. When the iPhone launched in the US, AT&T had exclusive carrier rights, while T-Mobile bought up iPhone rights in Germany and O2 was the sole UK carrier when the handset first arrived.

The Competition Bureau has stressed that at this point the case is merely an investigation, and no charges or allegations of wrongdoing have been filed against Apple or any other party. Should wrongdoing be found, however, Apple could face penalties from the Canadian government.

"It is important to note that there is no conclusion of wrongdoing by Apple Canada Inc. at this time, and no application has been filed with the Competition Tribunal or any other court to seek remedies for any alleged anti-competitive conduct," the spokesperson said. ®

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