In brief: Not for the first time, Apple is being investigated by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) over alleged monopolistic behavior.
First reported by Japanese publication Manichi, it’s claimed that Apple pressured Japanese suppliers and abused its position of power. The report states the iPhone maker demanded around 10 Japanese electrical and optical parts manufacturers sign contracts stipulating they supply their technologies and knowledge for free, else lose Apple as a client. A representative from one of the firms said it was forced to accept these terms rather than risk cutting ties with one of the world’s largest and most valuable tech companies.
Apple is also alleged to have pressured some suppliers to lower their component prices and prohibited them from selling parts and technologies to rival companies.
When one company objected to these contract revisions on the grounds that they violated its intellectual property rights, Apple threatened to stop doing business with the firm, according to those familiar with the matter. It was also “forced to accept the condition that the supplier should fully foot the costs of settling any dispute with the U.S. firm.”
The JFTC discovered the alleged anti-competitive behavior when it carried out a survey last fall that examined Japanese businesses and their dealings with other companies.
This isn’t the first time the JFTC has put Apple under the spotlight. Last year, it looked into whether the company might have forced a competing platform out of business. The agency also investigated whether Apple violated anti-monopoly laws by requiring carriers to sell iPhones at a lower cost than rival devices.