UPDATE 1-Canada competition watchdog probing Apple mobile carrier deals

Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:57pm EST
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TORONTO Dec 11 (Reuters) - Canada's Competition Bureau is investigating allegations that Apple Inc's Canadian unit used anti-competitive clauses in contracts with domestic wireless carriers, the watchdog said on Thursday.

The bureau said no wrongdoing by Apple's Canadian arm has been found so far, without stating who made the allegations. An Apple spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

The bureau this week sought a court order to compel Apple to turn over records relating to the ongoing investigation.

Canada's antitrust watchdog last month stepped up a similar probe into the country's top grocer, Loblaw Cos Ltd, ordering some of the chain's major suppliers to hand over records relating to their dealings with the company.

The bureau said it has sought a court order that would compel Apple's Canadian arm to provide records and written returns of information relevant to its investigation.

The bureau stressed that, so far, it has no evidence that Apple has contravened any rules and that it has not filed any application with the Competition Tribunal or any other court to seek remedies for any alleged anti-competitive conduct.

"Should evidence indicate that the Competition Act has been contravened, the Commissioner will take appropriate action," said Greg Scott, a spokesman for the bureau, in an email.

The bureau did not state whether it has also approached Canada's largest telecom players for records related to its probe.

Telus Corp declined to comment on the matter. Its rivals BCE Inc and Rogers Communications Inc were not immediately reachable for comment. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Euan Rocha in Toronto and Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and James Dalgleish)