Apple is facing an ultimatum in Egypt after the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) accused the company of breaking the country's competition regulations by imposing restrictions on local retailers. The Cupertino giant has now been given two months to end what the Egyptian government describes as unfair distribution terms with retailers.
The issue stems from certain clauses in Apple's contracts with retailers in Egypt which prevent them from placing orders with other distributors. The ECA finally invalidated these clauses after two years of investigating Apple's business practices in the country.
Amir Nabil, head of the ECA, said those practices effectively blocked competition in Egypt. He was quoted by Bloomberg as saying:
“You shouldn’t prevent the customer from being able to choose the better option available to them. It’s about availability of products. It’s also about allowing customers access to better products.”
According to Bloomberg, a standard iPhone model costs about 50% more in Egypt than its retail price in other parts of the Middle East. For example, a 512GB variant of the iPhone Xs Max retails for approximately $1,983 in Egypt whereas it can be had for around $1,306 in the U.A.E. Arab Business Machine, Apple's agent in the Middle East, is also subject to an imminent legal action if the iPhone maker fails to comply with the ECA's order.
It's not unusual for Apple to face legal threats in various regions of the world. Yesterday, a Chinese court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of many iPhone models in the country. That decision spelled a victory for Qualcomm, which has been accusing Apple of patent infringement.