The 2016: Apple, Google, Microsoft and other species face food

Moscow. 30 Dec. Igor Artemyev, currently one of the main veterans of the government in 2004 adopted the Antimonopoly office is quite modest: tending to zero political influence, without which the fight with the large companies is pointless, and the load in the form of “business support”. From the FAS got rid of at the start, but have since acquired a bunch of new features – from tariff regulation to control the state defense order.

FAS are increasingly called mega-regulator, but along with the weight of the office has grown and a lot of criticism in his address. The service, in particular, was criticized for a negligible number of investigations against foreign companies in 2015 are actually the only high-profile trial of this sort was the litigation with Google. In the General context of import substitution (sometimes quite aggressive) activities of an enforcement Agency, not interfering in the kitchen of large foreign companies on the Russian market, looked really not very logical.

2016 is a turning point and delicacy for the FAS – in addition to Google, the regulator one way or another drew attention to a number of global players. Apple, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Samsung, LG, Alcatel, Sony, Asus – they all learned what a “Russian antimonopoly body” in anger.

“Bucket” aperitif

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Probably, the case against the multinational giant Google has become a bitter drink, to awaken the appetite of the FAS to the proceedings with foreign companies. Service found Google guilty of violating competition in the market pre-installed mobile apps in Russia for gadgets based on Android (the mobile operating system, nicknamed “bucket”) and ordered to eliminate violations.

The case was filed in February 2015, according to the complaint of “Yandex” . By order of the company needs to “decouple” the Google Play app store from other services, including search. In this case, Google had to exclude agreements with vendors restrictions on installing applications and services of other developers.

It seemed that in August of 2016, “the Google case” was successfully completed. The courts took the side of FAS – was upheld the order of service from 2015, which Google had to exclude from agreements with manufacturers of Android-devices restrictions on installing applications and services of other developers besides Google. While the FAS has appointed an American company to a fine in the amount of 438 million rubles.

But Google, for which this penalty is largely symbolic, went to the counter by appealing the court’s decision and filed lawsuits against FAS. That, in turn, through the courts seeking the enforcement of the regulations and hints at criminal liability of the executives of Google.

“The Google case” in fact, not yet completed, but has already become part of the “cookbook” FAS – included in the departmental manuals and is regularly demonstrated at various professional conferences as a benchmark of opposition to transnational corporations.

Apple passes

Like the hypnotist, smoothly making passes over the faces of the patients, makes suggestion to authorized Resellers on a single price for your iPhone Apple – about therefore, if you put the statement of the FAS into an art form, sounded the diagnosis of the Russian Antimonopoly regulator.

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As in 2011, according to the same complaint about price fixing (for iPhone 4), the FAS began checking in on the retailers, but this time the main questions of the Antimonopoly authority belonged to Apple.

The test was initiated in February of this year, it was a major digital retailers, “Citylink”, M. Video, Eldorado, Euroset, Ozon, Re:Store, “the Messenger”, “Hardware”, Media Markt, “the”, DNS, “ion” (“Know-How”), “Technosila”, as well as retail networks of the mobile operators PJSC “Mobile TeleSystems” (MTS), OJSC “VimpelCom” and OAO “MegaFon” . In addition, the service checked the official Apple store in Russia AppleStore. The basis for the test was the citizen with information about the establishment in October 2015 are the same prices for the device.

A few months later – in August – the FAS initiated a case against the company “eppl Rus”, Apple Holding B. V., Apple Sales Ireland Apple Operations International, Apple Inc. The Ministry said detected signs of coordination of pricing iPhone 6S and 6S Plus networks in 16 Russian retailers.

The investigation FAS revealed that from the beginning of official sales of iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in Russia the majority of the reseller installed it on the smartphones of the same price and hold them for a certain time. Has established the coincidence of retailers and prices for other models of smartphones Apple.

The FAS believes that such overlap could result from the coordination of pricing Russian Resellers, the company Apple, which led to the establishment of prices on the Russian market and the adoption of the so-called “recommended” prices, as required.

In the investigation the FAS featured Apple press release, 28 September 2015, which lists the same prices, which operated from retailers. In particular, the cost of “younger” model iPhone 6S 16 Gb memory volume stood at 56.99 thousand rubles, the “older” model iPhone 6S Plus 128 Gb – 83,99 thousand rubles (these prices are for Apple Store). These facts, according to the FAS indicate that the parties in setting prices did not act independently.

Apple itself had previously denied the charge of the FAS, saying that Resellers set their own prices for the products of the American manufacturer. If Apple are found guilty, they could face a fine in accordance with article 14.32 of the administrative code for coordination of economic activities – from 1 to 5 million rubles.

FAS is not the first time gets a case of price collusion in sales of the iPhone. In 2011, the service found guilty of “VimpelCom” and MTS in concerted action to establish identical wholesale prices for the iPhone 4. Then the company was fined 18 million rubles and 16 million rubles, respectively. In late December, another case against the Russian “daughter” Apple, LLC “Apple Rus”, the FAS filed on the complaint of the iPhone user on the service centers of the company.

According to the complaint of a citizen, in 2016, the service centers have refused to replace the damaged display on the iPhone 6 Plus due to the lack of deliveries to Russia of spare parts, recommending replacement of the smartphone surcharge. Apple supplies in Russia, the modules screens and the motherboard necessary to repair, with the result that infringed the interests of consumers, according to FAS.

If the Russian “daughter” of the Apple will be found guilty of abuse of official the company faces a fine of 15 thousand rubles to 20 thousand rubles, and the company itself – from 300 thousand rubles to 1 million rubles. The company also may be required to correct the violation. The complaining citizen Dmitry Petrov hopes that FAS will force Apple to start supplying spare parts for repair of iPhone in Russia.

From the tree – apples, from the cartel – cones

Not in time vanish from the “most delicious” of the news headlines about the “iPhone” as early as the end of November, the FAS reported complaints with the office for prices of Samsung smartphones in the authorized stores. “Until we saw the prices on the iPhone, fell exactly the same complaints from citizens and organizations regarding the maintenance of the prices Samsung. Now it is not opened but we got the first information that you will carefully study” – said Deputy head of FAS Andrey tsarikovskiy.

According to him, processing information and pricing of Samsung smartphones and the first results of the analysis will appear in two months – by the end of January. Some time later, the head of the regulator, Igor Artemyev said that the FAS will not leave without attention all serious players in the market.

“We have identified part of the facts, now we uncover additional facts. Pull it is a big case in court, will we be able to prove it premature to say. We check the market, all the major players in this market”, – said the head of the Antimonopoly service.

Less than a month, the FAS announced new market participants, who came to the attention of the regulator – this time for four foreign companies have been the object of complaints related to pricing of smartphones. FAS has informed that has sent to Russian offices of manufacturers LG, Alcatel, Sony and Asus requests in connection with complaints of signs of price collusion in the sale of flagship smartphone models. Later, however to clarify – the Asus Russian office at all, so I wrote on Taiwan. We are talking about the prices of the Sony smartphones Xperia XZ, LG G5 SE Alcatel IDOL 4S and Asus ZenFone 3.

As soon as the company will answer the queries, the FAS will perform the analysis, the results of which the decision on initiation of proceedings. Approximately it may take about two months.

Someone all Lenovo neither HP

On the background of the proceedings before the FAS on the most sensitive to ordinary consumers category – mobile gadgets – in the shadows were messages about the success of the FAS anti-cartel field. In mid-November, the FAS reported on the investigation of price collusion in the market for the supply of IT equipment to government customers, acting for many years, which included IBM and Hewlett Packard.

Check Russian office Lenovo ended the three protocols of the controller of obstacles, who repaired her company’s representatives. Later, however, the FAS announced the initiation of proceedings only directly against Russian suppliers, adding that there will be other cases. Among the customers were the Central election Commission, interior Ministry and FSB, but they claim the Department does not have.

Another foreign IT giant, which became a defendant in complaints to the FAS, was Microsoft. Russian developer of anti-virus software “Kaspersky Lab” complained about the reduction in time compatibility antivirus FOR third-party software with the operating system Microsoft to six days to two months.

“Due to the fact that Microsoft itself is the developer of antivirus software Windows Defender, which is automatically activated if the third party did not have time to adapt with Windows 10, such actions lead to unjustified advantages for Microsoft in the software market. Our goal is to provide equal conditions for all participants of this market”, – is not lost in specific terms Deputy head of FAS Anatoly Golomolzin.

Microsoft, in turn, stated that it reaffirms its commitment to the principles of work in accordance with the antitrust laws. The company also reminded that it with “Kaspersky Lab” bind “long-term partnerships in various areas”.

Meanwhile, in the “Kaspersky Lab” announced that they intend to appeal and at the European Commission. Before filing a complaint to FAS, the company was engaged in long negotiations with Microsoft, but they were unsuccessful.

Try “to the tooth” of foreign giants, the new year, the FAS enters into the status of one of the major potential newsmakers. Research field large – because no one will forbid vulnerable to Russian users complain about Facebook, Amazon, Uber…