France’s competition authority, the Autorité de la Concurrence, has fined Apple a record €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) for illegally restricting how wholesalers sell products.
Two “premium” French Apple re-sellers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were also fined a total of €139 million ($155 million). The competition authority said Apple and the re-sellers agreed not to compete.
Verge outlined how Apple also stopped its premium resellers from being able to lower their prices, meaning that pricing was identical across almost half of the Apple retail market. The company is also accused of unfairly treating its premium resellers, in some cases limiting their supply compared to its own stores. These practices are said to have applied to products like the iPad, while the iPhone was unaffected
The Autorité de la Concurrence launched its probe in 2012, when the premium reseller eBizcuss.com launched a complaint shortly before going out of business.
“Apple abusively exploited” distributors’ dependence on the tech giant, the authority wrote, and “prevented competition among different Apple distribution channels.” And that, in turn, hurt consumers.
Apple said it would appeal the watchdog’s ruling, which it said was at odds with legal precedent in France.
At the time of post, Apple stock was down 13.5% in pre-market trading.
Source: Equities News