French regulator hands Apple £1bn fine for anti-competitive behaviour

The French Competition Authority on Monday announced it will fine Apple EUR 1.1 billion (GBP 1 billion) over restrictions it placed in contracts with wholesalers.

In the biggest antitrust fine the French authority has ever levied, the watchdog alleged that Apple and two of its wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, “agreed not to compete with each other”:

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

READ MORE: Apple iPhone sales in China plummet amid coronavirus outbreak

Tech Data was fined EUR 76 million (GBP 69.1 million) and Ingram Micro was fined EUR 63 million (GBP 57.28 million) by the watchdog.

Other distributors could then not offer promotions or lower prices, and Apple “abused the economic dependence” of the distributors by subjecting them to “unfair and unfavourable commercial conditions.”

The fine stems from a complaint lodged in 2012 by Apple re-seller

“It relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards thirty years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries,” an Apple spokesperson said, adding that it plans to appeal.

“We are extremely proud to serve our French customers and believe they should be allowed to choose the product they want, either through Apple Retail or our large network of resellers across the country,” said the spokesperson.

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