Apple fined record €1.1bn by French competition regulator
US software giant accused of anti-competitive practices
Apple has been fined €1.1bn (£990m) by antitrust regulators in France for anti-competitive agreements with two wholesalers.
The Guardian says the penalty imposed on the US tech giant is the largest ever handed out to a company by the Autorité de la Concurrence watchdog.
The regulator accused Apple of plotting with the two wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, resulting in aligned prices and limited wholesale competition for Apple products such as Apple Mac computers and iPads.
The two French companies were also fined, with Tech Data handed a €76m (£69.3m) penalty and Ingram Micro ordered to pay €63m (£57.5m).
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“Together,” reports TechCrunch, “the three have achieved the dubious distinction of getting the highest-ever fine for anti-competitive sales tactics.”
Commenting on the record fine, Isabelle de Silva, head of the French competition watchdog, said: “Apple and its two wholesalers agreed to not compete against each other and prevent resellers from promoting competition between each other, thus sterilising the wholesale market for Apple products.”
Apple said it would appeal the decision, adding that the precedent would “cause chaos for companies across all industries”.
“Apple has been operating in France for over 40 years and we are proud of our many contributions to job creation and economic development,” said a spokesperson. “Our investment and innovation supports over 240,000 jobs across the country. The French Competition Authority’s decision is disheartening.”
Analysts have speculated that the judgement will lead to the company upping efforts to bring more of its sales under its own roof.
CNBC said yesterday’s announcement is the second fine that French authorities have imposed on Apple in two months.
Regulators also hit the US giant with a €25m (£22.8m) fine last month over its software updates, which were concluded to have slowed down older iPhones.