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Apple Pacts in Canada May Have Raised Prices, a Court Filing Shows

No wrongdoing by Apple's Canadian arm has been found so far.

Reuters / Yuya Shino

Canadian consumers may have ended up paying higher prices for cellphones and wireless services because of contracts between Apple Inc’s Canadian unit and domestic carriers, the Canadian Competition Bureau said in a court filing this week.

The affidavit made on Tuesday by the Competition Bureau’s Vincent Millette listed several ways the agreements with the phone companies may have prevented or lessened competition.

It formed part of the agency’s filings with the Federal Court on Tuesday seeking documents from Apple as part of an investigation into possible anti-competitive behavior by the company. The bureau said on Thursday it had not reached a conclusion of wrongdoing at this time.

Millette affirmed that the Apple Canada contracts may have:

  • discouraged wireless carriers from reducing the price of other handsets, or offering other enhancements
  • discouraged them from offering other handsets
  • encouraged them to maintain or boost the price of wireless services for competing handsets
  • dampened upstream competition between handset suppliers.

“The contractual obligations (with the carriers) may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services,” he said in his affidavit.

The Competition Bureau is looking for documents as far back as July 2008, when the iPhone first was introduced in Canada.

The agency informed Apple in April that it was investigating the contracts with the phone companies. Apple has provided some records already, and wireless carriers have sent over 2,500 records in response to requests from the bureau made between June and August.

An Apple spokeswoman was not available to comment.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer in Ottawa and Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson, Meredith Mazzilli and Bernard Orr)

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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