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Russia's antimonopoly service postpones reviewing case against Apple to late January

December 08, 2016, 15:09 UTC+3

FAS anti-cartel department head Andrei Tenishev noted that the penalty for coordinating prices for Apple might not be significant

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MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) postponed the proceedings against Apple to the end of January 2017 due to the need for additional documents, FAS said on Thursday.

"Consideration of the case against Apple Rus company, Apple Holding B.V., Apple Sales Ireland, Apple Operations International, Apple Inc. was postponed due to the need for additional documents. The new date is tentatively scheduled for the end of January 2017," FAS said.

FAS anti-cartel department head Andrei Tenishev told TASS earlier that the meeting on December 8 will be preliminary.

Tenishev noted that the penalty for coordinating prices for Apple might not be significant. However, FAS will investigate such cases anyway, because many international companies violate the antitrust laws in Russia, and do not use such practices domestically.

Tenishev also told TASS that FAS is inspecting Samsung for coordination of prices for smartphones, by analogy with the Apple case. "We have complaints against Samsung in regard to price coordination. So far, I cannot say how it will end. I think next year we will somehow clarify this issue with Samsung," he said.

FAS earlier launched an inspection regarding several Russian electronics retailers due to suspicions of price-fixing agreement in sales of the latest iPhone models. Current iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus prices set by retailers are slightly different against each other and those listed in the Apple’s press release dated September 28, 2015, which gives reasons to believe that retailers did not determine iPhone prices independently, FAS press service said.

The antitrust watchdog requested information from 16 retailers, among them Euroset, Eldorado, Svyaznoy, re:Store, Ozon.ru, Citilink, Media-Markt, Mobiland, Megafon and Vimpelcom (Beeline brand), as well as the official online Apple store.

The investigation revealed that the majority of resellers had set similar prices for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus since the start of their official sales in Russia and maintained them for a certain period of time, FAS said. Similar situation was revealed with other iPhone models.

In particular, the regulator questioned Apple’s iPhone 7 pricing. Sales of this model in Russia started on September 23. In late October, the FAS announced the start of checks regarding the price of the latest model that will last for one month. Head of FAs Igor Artemyev said that of the situation with prices for iPhone 7 is same as with previous models that will be regarded as an aggravating circumstances when making a decision on the penalty.

Apple denied accusations saying it does not force iPhone prices on retail networks. Resellers set their own prices for Apple products both in Russia and around the world, the company said.

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