French Retailer Sues Apple over Unfair Competition

eBizcuss sues Apple for unfair business practicesFrance based eBizcuss has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging the Mac, iPhone and iPad maker is engaging in unfair competition by limiting product inventory to third-party resellers. eBizcuss has been an authorized Apple reseller for many years, but saw a substantial dip in inventory availability after Apple opened its Carousel del Louvre store in Paris.

eBizcuss saw a 30 percent drop in business during the third quarter of 2011 after iPad 2 and MacBook Air shipments stopped arriving, according to Le Figaro. Company CEO Francois Prudent said that he couldn’t get iPhone 4S inventory for his 16 stores when the updated combo iPod and smartphone shipped.

He added that he spent US$6.5 million in store upgrades, too. “Since 2007, we revamped our point-of-sale system at the request of Apple to meet Apple’s criteria,” he said.

Along with inventory problems, Mr. Prudent said Apple is stealing business customers, as well. “The proposals submitted to Apple commercial enterprises are lower than prices at which we buy the equipment,” he said.

Lawsuits over retail practices aren’t new to Apple. As far back as 2003 the company was targeted by authorized resellers such as Macadam, Mac Tech Systems and Computer International over claims that Apple favored its own stores unfairly.

MacAdam owner Tom Santos said at the time, “Apple is trying to disband the dealers. They want to put the dealers out of business.”

Apple has not commented on the eBizcuss lawsuit.

[Thanks to ifoAppleStore for the heads up.]