The Fair Trade Commission should investigate if Apple Inc has abused its market power by requiring iPhone buyers to pay extra for adapters and earphones, the Consumers’ Foundation said yesterday.
The US smartphone brand stopped offering adapters and earpods to buyers in October last year when it launched the iPhone 12 series. Apart from the smartphone, buyers only receive a USB-C charger cable in the package.
Apple has announced that it is to launch its iPhone 13 series at 10am on Tuesday Pacific time.
Photo courtesy of the Consumers’ Foundation via CNA
The EU has in recent years been pushing for a consolidation of various specifications for smartphone power chargers in a bid to reduce electronic waste, but Apple has been developing new specifications for iPhone accessories, foundation secretary-general Hsu Tse-yu (徐則鈺) said.
“Apple said that it stopped providing adapters and earpods to protect the environment. However, consumers cannot access the full functions of iPhones without these two accessories, so they must spend more to buy them,” Hsu said.
Not providing adapters and earpods does not make a new iPhone cheaper, he said.
“On the contrary, we see prices of new iPhones going even higher, and a reduction in manufacturing costs does not translate to a drop in the product’s retail price,” he said.
Foundation legal committee convener Tsai Pei-fen (蔡佩芬) said that Apple offers these two accessories when they sell new iPhones in France, adding that iPhones that do not include them should be sold at a lower price.
Fair Trade Commission Vice Chairman Andy Chen (陳志民) said the commission has not received the foundation’s official request for an investigation, and it would only consider taking up the case after it is ascertained through a market research that the issue might be related to market competition.
“We will examine the company’s market share and its market power before determining if its sales model would exclude market competition,” he said.
The Fair Trade Act (公平交易法) does not affect the way manufacturers set prices for products, he said.
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