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Apple’s IPhone Distribution Still Examined by EU Regulator

Apple Inc.’s distribution practices for iPhones continue to be examined by the European Union’s antitrust regulator as part of a preliminary investigation, the European Commission said today.

The regulator “has received information from industry players concerning Apple’s distribution practices for iPhones,” Antoine Colombani, spokesman for Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, said by e-mail.

“We are currently examining the situation,” Colombani said. “This does not prejudge the commission’s position on the issues raised.”

Antitrust officials at the Brussels-based commission said in March they were looking at whether Apple’s distribution methods for iPhones and iPad tablets were anti-competitive. Apple last year settled an EU antitrust probe into e-books pricing after it agreed to change agreements with four publishers.

The Cupertino, California-based company previously ended another antitrust case by pledging to reduce prices for U.K. iTunes music downloads. The EU closed a probe over restrictions on iPhone applications in 2010.

Alan Hely, a spokesman for Apple in London, declined to comment beyond the company’s statement from March that Apple’s contracts “fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including in the EU.”

The Financial Times yesterday reported the EU had sent a questionnaire to EU mobile network operators focusing on Apple’s distribution terms.

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