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Taiwan FTC fines Apple for seeking to manage retailers' iPhone pricing

Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission has slapped Apple with a $670,000 fine for interfering with mobile providers and handset retailers' pricing.

The commission accused Apple of violating the nations Fair Trade Act by advising mobile carriers on how much they should charge for iPhones, stating that Apple had no right to govern how the carriers sold iPhones after having sold the carriers distribution rights.

A report by the Wall Street Journal indicated that the fine involved resale and distribution rights rather than just pricing, noting that the commission maintained that Taiwan's three major carriers Chunghwa Telecom, Far Eastone Telecommunication, and Taiwan Mobile "can distribute or resell iPhones at their complete discretion after paying Apple for those rights."

The decision applies only to iPhones and not other devices such as iPads or Macs; mobile phones and carriers are subject to unique regulations in most countries.

The report cited a FTC statement saying, "through the email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies we discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market."

Bigger fine than Samsung's slander and false advertising put together

Apple hasn't responded to the accusations, although the FTC notes that Apple can appeal the ruling. If it does not comply, however, the commission has threatened an even larger fine.

Earlier this year, Taiwan's FTC also fined Samsung for "dirty tricks" involving orchestrating an internet smear campaign against Taiwanese phone maker HTC and making false advertising claims related to a Galaxy-branded handset.

Both fines against Samsung combined totaled $442,000, considerably less than the since fee Taiwan is seeking to charge Apple in the support of Taiwan's carriers.