Apple has been fined 20 million New Taiwan dollars ($670,000) by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission for influencing iPhone retail pricing and rate plans with three of the country’s biggest wireless carriers: Chunghwa Telecom, FarEasTone Telecommunications and Taiwan Mobile.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, Taiwanese law dictates that once a carrier has purchased the rights to distribute a mobile device, they are free of all types of corporate interference. But according to e-mail correspondence obtained by the FTC, Cupertino has been influencing the price of iPhones and plans sold with them.
In a statement on the matter, the commission said Apple deprived the telecom operators of liberty to decide on the prices based on their own cost structures and competitive market situation. They also aided in restricting competition and violated the fair trade law in general.
It may sound like a lot of money for average people like us, but it’s little more than a warning and a slap on the wrist for Apple. The iDevice maker can appeal the decision although it’s unclear at this hour if Apple will exercise that option. The real story here, however, is how Apple will approach the matter moving forward.
In the event Cupertino doesn’t butt out of pricing affairs, they could be looking at a much larger fine. According to the publication, further noncompliance would add an additional 50 million New Taiwan dollars (around $1.6 million). Even still, that’s not a ton of money considering Apple pulled in $7.5 billion in profit during the most recent reported quarter.