Apple lands on Taiwan's naughty list for dictating iPhone pricing

iPhone price fixing
A different sort of price fixing for Apple

Apple landed on the naughty list of Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission this week, standing accused of interfering with the price of iPhone handsets.

The island country's authority of economic competition found that Apple was telling Taiwan Mobile, Chunghwa Telecom and Far Eastone Telecommunication how to set iPhone prices.

"We discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market," said the commission to the Wall Street Journal.

This violation of article 18 of Taiwan's Fair Trade Act was discovered through "email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies."

The price of meddling

Apple's anti-competition meddling will cost it 20 million New Taiwan dollars.

That amounts to a slightly less impactful $670,000 (about £410,000, AU$751,000) for the world's largest publicly traded company.

It could blossom into a fine that's about two-and-a-half times as large if Apple doesn't comply, or it could be thrown out completely if the Cupertino company successfully appeals the decision.

Apple could always argue that the iPhone 5S in Taiwan is on the low end of the worldwide price index.

The more significant cost of having these anti-competition emails discovered is that is has been ordered to stop interfering with the prices mobile service providers and handset distributors set in Taiwan.

Matt Swider