Japanese authorities search Apple offices

TOKYO -- Japanese authorities on Tuesdaysearched the headquarters of Apple Japan Inc, a unit of AppleComputer Inc. Local media reports said the firm was suspected of violatingantitrust laws.

TOKYO -- Japanese authorities on Tuesday searched the headquarters of Apple Japan Inc, a unit of Apple Computer Inc. Local media reports said the firm was suspected of violating antitrust laws.

A company spokeswoman confirmed that the watchdog Fair Trade Commission made an inspection, but she could not immediately give the reason. She declined to comment further, and the commission said it could not make any immediate coment.

Media reports said the commission suspects Apple Japan violated antitrust laws, pressuring retailers not to sell its popular iMac desk-top and iBook notebook personal computers below retail list prices by threatening to suspend shipments.

iMac popularity
The iMac has been popular in Japan since it was introduced to the market in August 1998.

The three desktop iMac models are currently priced at 118,000 yen, 148,000 yen and 178,000 yen ($1,148, $1,440 and $1,731). The notebook iBook, launched in October of this year, is 198,000 yen ($1,926).

The spokeswoman did not disclose sales volumes in Japan, although she said Apple had sold over two million iMacs globally since the product's launch.

Industry analysts estimate Apple's share in the Japanese PC market at five to seven percent, compared with the company's global PC market share of four percent.