Apple has come under some scrutiny from a variety of different avenues and legal bodies over the past few years, and it’s something I’m sure the company has grown accustomed to. One report over at the New York Times details an effort by a group of small European carriers to get the EU to investigate some alleged anti-competitive contracts forced on them by Apple.

The issue is seemingly that Apple asks carriers often to pay up front, often in large sums worth millions, or billions in the case of some of the larger network providers. And, because it’s Apple and the iPhone, most are willing to do it.

But, for smaller carriers and MVNOs, it’s not that easy to get a slice of the action. Cupertino not only asks them to pay up front for units, but also to pay for anything that remains unsold.

People briefed on the carriers’ relationships with Apple, who declined to be named because Apple does not permit them to speak publicly about the contracts, said the terms that some European carriers must accept to sell iPhones are unusually strict, making it difficult for other handset makers to compete.

Apple’s view on it is that its contracts “our contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the E.U.” It would be unusual to see anything major come of this. But we’ll keep out ear to the ground for more developments.

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