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A group of European wireless operators have submitted concerns to European Union regulators that the contracts to sell the iPhone which they must agree with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) are anti-competitive in nature. There is no official complaint as yet, and the allegations appear centred around French carriers, though there could be other countries with a similar grouse. “We have been contacted by industry participants and we are monitoring the situation, but no antitrust case has been opened,” said Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for Joaqun Almunia, competition commissioner of the European Union, and reported by CNBC. It is a difficult situation for the carriers, because they would get no iPhones to sell unless they agreed to Apple’s terms. Not selling iPhones would be marketplace hara-kiri, given the customer demand for the hot-selling phone, particularly when a new variant is launched. Though Apple strictly forbids disclosure of its contracts by the carriers, it is well known that the company sets sales quotas that the telco must fulfil, and buy back any phones that are unsold, though that situation has not come to pass as yet. But carriers must then allocate the bulk of their marketing budgets to the iPhone, leaving little for other phone brands.
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