Just yesterday we reported that Canada’s Competition Bureau was investigating Apple Canada’s contracts with Canadian carriers, to see if Apple included any anti-competitive clauses in them. Today, it was revealed that the bureau’s Vincent Millet, who is leading the investigation, filed an affidavit with the federal court on Tuesday. In the filing, Millet said what we already suspected (taken from the Globe & Mail’s report ):
- he believes the terms of the contracts may discourage the carriers from reducing the price of or offering other enticements to sell handsets that compete with the iPhone.
- the contracts could have encouraged carriers to maintain or increase the price of monthly service related to competing devices
- the obligations imposed in the Apple contracts could be “dampening upstream competition between suppliers of handset devices.”
“The contractual obligations may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services,” Mr. Millette wrote in the affidavit, a copy of which The Globe and Mail reviewed Friday.
There you have it. Even to those who suspected this was going on, it’s still shocking to hear a confirmation from the Competition Bureau.
Ever since the iPhone was released, people were saying how iPhonians were getting screwed and gouged. But the iPhonians either ignored it or denied it. At least now they can’t deny it any longer. I’m sure a bunch of them will continue to ignore it, and they’ll probably say it’s worth it. I would be totally fine with that if it were not for the fact that it affects users of other phones as well. And that’s the problem I have with these practices by Apple. Why should I have to pay for somebody else’s willingness to get gouged by a phone maker ? We need choices: one or more for those who want to get gouged, and one or more for those who don’t.
At this point, the Bureau says they haven’t concluded there was any wrongdoing by Apple, and they haven’t applied for any remedies for anti-competitive behaviour with any court nor the Competition Tribunal. But I’m hoping they will soon. The industry, at least in a few places in the world like Canada, needs a major overhaul…not to mention a good kick in the pants.