Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has slapped Apple with a $667,000 fine over charges that the company tried to influence iPhone prices in the country. Given Apple’s fortunes, the fine may not be of much consequence for the company.
Apple’s flagship iPhone handset is carried by three largest carriers in Taiwan. These include Chunghwa Telecom, FarEasTone Telecommunications and Taiwan Mobile. According to local laws, Apple is prohibited from asserting any influence over the wireless carriers once they have purchased the rights to distribute iPhone.
However, Apple apparently tried to meddle with its pricing strategy. The $667,000 fine has been announced as a result of this. There’s the possibility that Apple will appeal against the verdict and drag on the case for a while. But what seems more likely is that the company will simply pay up and continue influencing the prices, given the fact that $667K means nothing to a company which has more than $150 billion in cash reserves.
If Apple continues the practice and the Fair Trade Commission finds the company guilty of the same charge yet again, the fine may be ramped up by another $1.6 million. Before that happens, we can expect that Apple will work out a good enough deal with the wireless carriers in the country.
It is interesting to note here that Samsung has deployed similarly illegal marketing tactis for its own smartphones in Taiwan. As a result, the largest Android vendor has also been slapped with significant fines by Taiwanese regulatory authorities in the past.