EU investigates Apple’s iPhone sales strategy

The European Commission’s competition division confirms it is looking into the distribution practices of Apple when it comes to its flagship smartphone

Apple’s sales strategy for its flagship smartphone device – the iPhone – is being looked into by the European Commission’s competition investigators.

Rumours began last week when the Financial Times claimed it had seen questionnaires sent out by the Commission to mobile operators across the continent asking about Apple’s practices, such as whether a minimum number of devices had to be bought, how much marketing budget must be used and guarantees around no worse subsidies than its competitors.

Now the EC has confirmed it has collected the data and is making a decision on whether to launch a formal investigation.

Antoine Colombani, spokesman for the Competition Commission within the EC, said: "The Commission has received information from industry players concerning Apple's distribution practices for iPhones. We are currently examining the situation.”

However, he was keen to add “this does not prejudge the Commission's position on the issues raised," meaning the decision has yet to be made as to whether the EC will probe further.

We contacted Apple for comment on the situation but it had not returned our request for comment at the time of publication.

Apple products are growing in popularity in the corporate environment, with a recent Citrix report claiming 58% of all the devices enrolled in its enterprise mobility services in the fourth quarter of 2012 were running the iOS mobile operating system (OS).

However, Google’s Android OS was making more of an impact in EMEA than ever before. Its share of enrollments rose by 11% in the region, bringing it up to 36%, while iOS devices fell by 13% to just 53% of sign-ups.

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