Authorized Apple resellers in Egypt have been selling the company’s products at prices 50 percent higher than in neighboring Arab countries, allegedly due to anti-competitive practices by Apple and its regional distributor, Arab Business Machine. Now the Egyptian government has given the companies 60 days to fix the situation — or face unspecified legal consequences.
As spotted by Bloomberg, the Egyptian Competition Authority has issued a formal decree accusing Apple of preventing regional wholesale distributors from selling to Egyptian distributors, in violation of local laws. By limiting competition within the country’s distribution networks and banning parallel imports of Apple products into Egypt, the company allegedly led Egyptian prices to spike.
The report suggests that the 512GB iPhone XS Max is sold in the United Arab Emirates for the equivalent of $1,306, while the Egyptian street price is $1,983, a 51 percent premium. A quick check of local iPhone carrier Orange’s pricing showed the same high-end iPhone model selling today for the equivalent of $1,853, a smaller but still non-trivial 41 percent hike for Egyptian consumers.
Prices for Apple products have traditionally varied from country to country based on tax, currency conversion, and distribution differences, with some consumers facing particularly harsh premiums due to their location and/or government policies. Regardless, Egyptian authorities suggest that the country is being treated worse than its regional counterparts.
Apple now has a little under two months to remedy the situation in some way. The company claims it complies with the laws of all countries where it does business, and though it generally takes its time when addressing regulatory complaints, the threat of serious consequences tends to inspire it to resolve issues ahead of government deadlines. India successfully pushed Apple to approve a government-developed anti-spam app last month, but only after threatening a ban on iPhones earlier this year.