France Fines Apple $1.2 Billion for Anti-Competitive Practices

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France’s antitrust authority, the Autorité de la Concurrence, today fined Apple 1.1 billion euros (approximately $1.2 billion) for its anti-competitive practices, reports Reuters.

Apple wholesalers Tech Data and Ingram Micro also were included in the judgment and fined 63 million euros and 76 million euros, respectively.

The fine against Apple is the highest the authority has ever levied against a company.

The french antitrust regulatory body began its investigation in 2012 when premium reseller filed a complaint against the Cupertino company. The complaint accused Apple of illegally entering into contracts with wholesalers at the expense of premium resellers like eBizcuss. Shortly after filing the complaint, eBizcuss closed its doors permanently.

The investigation by the Autorité de la Concurrence took years to complete after Apple challenged the legality of the government’s pre-dawn raids in 2013. In 2018, the French court system ruled the searchers were justified by law and allowed the investigation to continue.

Apple was fined for entering into an agreement with two wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, that forbid competition between the distributors. Apple also was fined for preventing its resellers from lowering prices, prohibiting discounts, and keeping prices the same across the entire market. Apple also favored its stores, sometimes limiting the supply of the iPad and similar products to its resellers while maintaining inventory at its retail stores.

“Apple and its two wholesalers have agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilising the wholesale market for Apple products.”

Autorité de la Concurrence.

Apple reportedly plans to appeal the ruling, which it called “disheartening.” This antitrust investigation is not the only one Apple is facing. The FTC last year announced it was investigating an agreement between Apple and Amazon that restricted small companies from reselling Apple products.

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