France’s antitrust regulator hit Apple with a record fine of € 1.1 billion for violating competition rules.
The fine was also imposed on two wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro. Tech Data will pay EUR 76 million, and Ingram Micro will pay EUR 63 million. The sanction is for an unlawful price agreement, the French antitrust authority said.
Apple’s fine for maintaining high prices is the largest ever imposed by the French antitrust authority. “Apple and its two vendors have agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby preserving Apple’s wholesale market,” he said.
At the same time, the French authorities pointed out that Apple had prevented the sale of its products at lower prices by setting the price for the retail premium retailers to be identical to those of the company in its own shop or on the internet. The two wholesalers then followed Apple’s guidelines on product allocation to customers, rather than freely defining their own trade policy. The agreements did not include iPhones, but iPads and other devices.
In a statement, Apple said the decision of the French antitrust office was disappointing. He rejects the legal precedent that all companies in France have relied on for 30 years and causes chaos in companies in all sectors.
The office opened an investigation in 2012 following a complaint. The company has already withdrawn from the French market but continues to operate in Belgium.
France fined Apple when US technology giants are under increased scrutiny by European regulators because of their strong market position, paying taxes, and protecting user privacy.