Apple received a €1.1 billion ($1.23 billion) fine from the French competition authority on Monday. Two of its French wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, also received fines of €76 million and €63 million respectively (via Financial Times).
Apple Hit With Largest Individual Fine by French Authority
The fine related to alleged anti-competitive behavior accusations. Apple is said to have limited stocks of some products supplied to independent resellers. The alleged aim was to keep the price of its products high. The regulator said the behavior occurred between 2005 and 2017.
It is the largest ever fine issued to a single firm by the Autorité de La Concurrence. The watchdog said in a statement:
Apple and its two wholesalers have agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilising the wholesale market for Apple products.
Certain Resellers Favored
Furthermore, the regulator said that Apple favored some resellers above others, giving them more stock. It said that “this weakened certain companies, and in some cases, like that of reseller eBizcuss, contributed [to] them leaving the market.”
The regulator added:
The resellers are independent businesses and must be allowed the freedom to determine their commercial strategy, such as what products to sell, how much and what supplier to choose.
Apple said it “strongly disagreed” with the findings and will appeal:
It relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards 30 years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries.