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France Hands Apple Record $1.2B Fine For Anti-Competitive Behaviour

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Apple has been fined $1.2 billion by France’s competition authority, the Autorité de la Concurrence for anti-competitive behaviour towards its wholesalers.


The French Authority also fined two of its wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro 76 million and 63 million Euros respectively. The probe began in 2012 after premium reseller made a complaint before closing up shop. This is the biggest fine the Autorité de la Concurrence has ever given.


According to the watchdog, Apple is guilty of a series of anti-competitive practices. It alleges the tech giant and the two resellers made an agreement not to compete with one another. Then it stopped its premium resellers from being able to reduce their prices.


This meant pricing became identical across close to half of Apple’s retail market. Finally, Apple allegedly limited the supply of its devices compared to its own stores. The practices allegedly applied to all of its products except the iPhone.


Apple fine France
The Apple logo is seen on the facade of the new Apple Store in Paris, France    Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau
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“Apple and its two wholesalers agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products,” Autorité de la Concurrence said in a statement.

Disheartening decision

Apple in a statement said it found the fine “disheartening.”


“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,” its statement read.


This is just as Apple is forced to close all its stores outside China as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has hurt its finances as data from China shows it sold less than 500,000 phones in February 2020. The number was its lowest ever for the month of February since 2012. The company had earlier warned its investors that the coronavirus would hurt its revenue.


Apple also disclosed that it plans to appeal the decision of the French authorities.


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