Technology

Apple Hit With Antitrust Violations in France

“Apple and its two wholesalers ... agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other."
Vincent RyanMarch 16, 2020
Apple Hit With Antitrust Violations in France

The French Competition Authority announced it is imposing a fine of €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) against Apple, alleging the tech giant was guilty of creating cartels and placed restrictions in contracts with wholesalers designed to limit competition and influence retail prices.

“Apple and its two wholesalers have agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products,” the antitrust regulator said in a statement.

Tech Data was fined €63 million ($70 million) and Ingram Micro was fined €76 million ($85 million) for their role in the scheme.

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The fine stemmed from a 2012 complaint filed by Apple reseller eBizcuss.com.

The fines, totaling €1.24 billion, are the largest ever levied for a single case, the FCA said. The €1.1 billion fine against Apple is also the regulator’s largest fine against a single company.

The FCA said Apple had committed, “an abuse of economic dependence on its premium retailers, a practice which the authority considers to be particularly serious.”

EBizcuss.com is no longer in business.

“The French Competition Authority’s decision is disheartening,” an Apple spokesperson said. “It relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards 30 years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries. We strongly disagree with them and plan to appeal.”

Earlier this month, Apple agreed to pay $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged it slowed down older iPhones with lower-capacity batteries.

Apple stock was down sharply Monday morning amid a broad market selloff.