Apple concessions end planned EC probe

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Apple concessions end planned EC probe

Alex Scroxton

The European Commission has abandoned its planned antitrust probe of Apple after the vendor made a series of concessions surrounding cross-border repair policies and developer restrictions.

The Commission had launched a probe into two aspects of Apple policy concerning its flagship iPhone, which it deemed anticompetitive.

Apple had previously only made its iPhone repairs service available in the country of purchase, which according to the Commission made "the exercise of warranty rights difficult for consumers who had purchases an iPhone in another EU/EEA country."

The Commission claimed this amounted to territorial restrictions aimed at dissuading European consumers from buying iPhones outside their country of residence, and therefore a partitioning of the market.

Apple has now backtracked on this policy and will now allow its Authorised Service Provider channel to provide cross-border iPhone warranty services where Apple does not take charge of repairs itself.

The second area where Apple has backed down concerns restrictions on the development tools used to build downloadable applications for its popular App Store. The vendor has now relaxed restrictions on the use of third-party development tools, which the Commission believes will allow end-users to benefit from technical developments and innovation.

"Apple's response to our preliminary investigations shows that the Commission can use the competition rules to achieve swift results on the market with clear benefits for consumers, without the need to open formal proceedings," said EC Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.


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