Apple fined record $1.2B in France over anti-competitive sales practices
The wheels of the regulatory machine continue to turn, and today Apple, along with two of its wholesale partners, was dealt a major blow in France over antitrust violations, by receiving the biggest-ever fine levelled against a business over anti-competitive practices and “sterilizing the market” for Apple products, specifically as they are sold across a range of Apple Stores, large “big box” retailers and smaller, independent resellers.
Apple, along with its wholesale distribution partners Ingram Micro and Tech Data, have been accused and fined by the French competition authority (Autorité de la Concurrence), over operating a cartel — affecting pricing and who could sell products — for virtually all Apple products including computers and tablets, but not the iPhone (which is often sold via mobile phone distributors and carriers). Apple is being ordered to pay up €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion), while Tech Data was fined €76.1 million and Ingram Micro €62.9 million in the fine.
Together, the three have achieved the dubious distinction of getting the highest-ever fine for anti-competitive sales tactics.
“During this case, the Authority deciphered the very specific practices that had been implemented by Apple for the distribution of its products in France (excluding Iphones), such as the iPad,” said Isabelle de Silva, President of the French Competition Authority, in a statement. “Given the strong impact of these practices on competition in the distribution of Apple products via Apple premium resellers, the Authority imposes the highest penalty ever pronounced in a case (€1.24 billion). It is also the heaviest sanction pronounced against an economic player, in this case Apple (1.1 billion euros), whose extraordinary dimension has been duly taken into account. Finally, the Authority considered that, in the present case, Apple had committed an abuse of economic dependence on its premium retailers, a practice which the Authority considers to be particularly serious.”
Apple said that it plans to appeal the ruling…….read more
Source: Tech Crunch