Apple's iPhone deals investigated for breaching Canada’s competition laws

An investigation has been launched into whether Apple used unfair tactics to hamper competitors of its iPhone devices in Canada.

The country’s competition bureau has given the Cupertino-based firm 90 days to hand over documents relating to deals struck with mobile operators.

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It is alleged that Apple used its strong consumer position to encourage mobile networks not to reduce the prices of rival smartphones or even to increase them. It is not yet clear whether Apple will appeal the bureau’s decision.

Derek Leschinsky, a lawyer for the Competition Bureau, told the Guardian that Apple may be able to challenge whether a Canadian court can force its Canadian subsidiary to hand over any documents held by its US parent company.

However, Canada’s competition laws do allow its national courts to request information held outside the country.

The Canadian investigation follows last year’s European Commission questionnaire which was sent to network operators to determine the nature of their deals with Apple.

“The commission has information indicating that Apple and mobile network operators have concluded distribution agreements which may potentially lead to the foreclosure of other smartphone manufacturers from the markets,” the questionnaire explained.

Mobile networks had previously made complaints to the commission regarding the contracts signed with Apple.

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Earlier this week, Apple also faced a lawsuit regarding its iPod range of music players. The Californian court eventually ruled in the US firm’s favour, rejecting claims that its iTunes software unfairly prevented the use of competing music players.