Japan FTC investigating Apple over pressure on parts makers: Mainichi

Japan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating Apple over its pressure on Japanese parts makers and whether it abused its power in violation of anti-monopoly rules, the Mainichi newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The investigation is the latest by the country's regulators against the tech giant after they found last year that the company may have breached antitrust rules in the way it sold its iPhones in Japan.

It also comes as Apple may face more regulatory scrutiny in the United States. The U.S. Justice Department has jurisdiction for a potential probe of Apple as part of a broader review of whether technology giants are using their size to act in an anti-competitive manner.

Japan’s FTC survey of companies showed that Apple had signed contracts forcing firms to provide free technology and know-how to its affiliates for parts manufacturing, the Mainichi said.

It also pressured some suppliers to lower components prices and prohibited them from selling parts and technology to other companies, while requiring them to shoulder the costs of any unforeseen issues, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.

When a company called it an infringement of intellectual property rights and demanded a revision, Apple threatened to end their business relationship, the report said.

Last year, the FTC investigated Apple over allegations that it unfairly pressured Yahoo Japan Corp. to slow the expansion of its online games platform, which competes with Apple's App Store.

The tech firm is also facing a potential U.S. investigation over allegations that App Store policies give the company too much clout over app sales and in-app purchases.

Source(s): Reuters