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The Almighty Buck Businesses Apple

Apple Found Guilty of Russian Price-Fixing (bbc.com) 49

An anonymous reader shares a BBC report: Russia's competition watchdog has found that Apple fixed the prices of certain iPhone models sold in the country. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (Fas) said that Apple's local subsidiary told 16 retailers to maintain the recommended prices of phones in the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 families. Non-compliance with the pricing guidelines may have led to the termination of contracts, it found. At the time of the investigation, Apple denied that it controlled its products' pricing, telling Reuters that resellers "set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world." The regulator said Apple had now ended its price-fixing practices but has not said whether the company faces a fine. The FAS claimed that Apple Rus monitored the retail prices for the iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus.
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Apple Found Guilty of Russian Price-Fixing

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  • My GOD! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @12:03PM (#54043995)

    I wondered why my Russians were so expensive!

  • Why even have 3rd party dealers / distributions? Or is it that you to have full price control but don't want the risk of sitting on unsold items no the 3rd party dealers / distributions with min order numbers are the ones who take that risk.

    • Why even have 3rd party dealers / distributions?

      Because it is not economically feasible to build an Apple Store in every town and village. Selling on-line doesn't work so well in countries where packages are routinely stolen.

    • A significant portion of consumer sales still go through walk-in-retail channels, and with the phones they have the added issue that many people buy the phone as part of a contract. Apple doesn't want to become a mobile network operator all around the world, so they are going to have to partner with local dealers. I imagine this is even more of an issue in Russia where you probably need some local connections to keep things moving along.

      As for the retail pricing control thing, that is rather interesting. I

  • No, they were found guilty of not paying their, wink, "tax", so officials used the antitrust laws not for the purpose apoplectic big business haters espouse, but for their real purpose: to harm businesses that don't play the game.

    This cynicism born from reality.

  • by lactose99 ( 71132 )

    coming from the country that owns fucking Gazprom

    • So what? Gazprom is a state owned company. When it sells natural gas to European countries, does it forbid the resale at a different price? I don't think so.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You are irony impaired. The Russians have a "competition watchdog" yet they have one of the least competitive enterprise business environments. Gazprom is one example.

        • Good for them. The Russian people control their own energy sector, instead of giving it away to oligarchs, to profit from obscenely like in Yeltin's time.

          • There is no 'Russian people' here. In Yeltsin's time, it was privately owned, under Putin, while it's still nominally private, it's executives have to be on good terms w/ Putin to avoid being arm twisted or bullied.
  • editors, please. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@nOSpAM.hotmail.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @12:35PM (#54044233)
    Cmon, editors, you need to think about these stories before you blindly post them with stupid, uninformed headlines.

    Apple dictating to its retailers what prices to offer for their own manufactured phones is not "price fixing". Price fixing in the traditional sense is when competitors in a market collude to artificially set the price of a good that they otherwise should be competing on, which deprives the free market of alternatives.

    This is a case of Apple setting its own product's pricing. And something is being lost from the Russian story and what they mean by things like Recommended Retail Price / MSRP, but this is not "price fixing". Please use some judgment before using inflammatory / inflated headlines.
    • MSRP is common, as is a MAP (minimum advertised price - this is why you'll sometimes see sales saying "place in cart to see price"). But some manufacturers try to enforce a minimum selling price, which is outlawed in many countries. Apple can set its own price to the retailers, but the retailers must be allowed to set their own prices - even if it means selling the product at a loss.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      How is it not a form of price fixing if Apple is trying to force non-Apple retailers to maintain the same price Apple stores are offering?

      It's not even collusion ("hey, let's make extra profit") it's more like extortion ("sell at our dictated price, or else").

      Apple can set the prices for its phones in its own stores, but other retailers should be free to set their own prices, even if they are apparently suicidal -- ie, selling below their own cost. If that makes Apple Store look overpriced, that's the Appl

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      You go to sell your car.

      Ford ring you up and say "If you sell that for less than 50% profit, you'll never be allowed another Ford car again".

      It's illegal, and more importantly immoral, no matter what terminology you want to translate from the Russian using.

      And that applies whether it's YOU or a Ford dealer who's already bought the cars from you, or a third-party dealer who legally owns the cars they have to sell on.

      You cannot determine the price of your products. You cannot impose conditions on goods post-

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        You cannot determine the price of your products. You cannot impose conditions on goods post-sale. Almost all first-world legal systems prevent such things.

        Once the shop has the iPhones in their possession, it's up to THEM what they sell them for, not Apple. Because - for instance - imagine if they DON'T sell. That guy would never be able to recoup even the tiniest part of his money, even at a loss, because "Apple said no".

        True. But the manufacturer can get annoyed and you end up screwed.

        In the modern world,

      • Why can't more places sell direct and not use not so independent dealers that are controlled by the manufacturer.

    • This is price fixing. Apple is free to raise the price of its products, but shouldn't be allowed to dictate the price for resellers. If they don't want any profit margin it's their problem.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @12:36PM (#54044247)

    Apple Fined $670,000 In Taiwan [forbes.com] For Price Fixing in 2013

  • Is that a branch of the Federal Oligarchy Enforcement Service?

  • I remember when Russia was guilty of price-fixing apples.
  • So if I am the sole manufacturer of a certain product and I set my price at $10, I'm price fixing? If people don't want to pay $10 for my product they'll go elsewhere and buy competing, different products. Price fixing distorts the market, but I don't see that happening here. Not allowing retailers to sell for profits below or beyond what Apple dictates is not illegal either. It's all done on a contractual basis between Apple who supplies the product and the retailers who sell it (essentially for hire)

    • No. This is the thing. You sell your product for $10 to someone who then resells it brand new for $8. Or you sell it to them at $6 and ask for them to resell it for $10.

      The price fixing is in that you can't force someone else to resell or sell the product at a given price.

    • Not allowing retailers to sell for profits below or beyond what Apple dictates is not illegal either.

      Yes it is, or at least should be in any civilized country.

  • I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen a late-model iPhone on sale or with a retail price below Apple's MSRP. The closest I can come up with is a carrier plan that, in the end, charges more for the phone but gives a lower (or no) up front cost.

    Can anybody else find a new (not used or refurbed) iPhone of the current or last generation for less than Apple's standard price?

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