Apple has been fined a record €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) by France’s anti-trust board for engaging in anti-competitive practices within its distribution network of electronic products.
It’s the single biggest fine ever handed out by France’s anti-trust board. Apple was also sanctioned for abusing of a situation of economic dependency with regard to independent distributors. Apple’s wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were also fined €76,1 million (€84.5 million) and €62,9 million ($70 million) by the board, respectively.
The fines are stemming from a complaint filed in 2012 by eBizcuss, a distributor of specialised high-end Apple products. Apple’s headquarters and its wholesales were raided by the officials of the anti-trust board in Dec. 2017.
Isabelle de Silva, the president of the anti-trust board, said that through this case, the board “untangled the very particular practices that had been implemented by Apple for the distribution of its products in France (with the exception of Iphones), such as iPad.”
De Silva said the probe revealed that Apple and its two wholesalers had agreed not to compete to prevent distributors from competing with each other, “thereby sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products.”
She said that under Apple’s practices, the “so-called premium distributors could not safely carry out promotions or lower prices, which led to an alignment of retail prices.”
The org’s president added that Apple subjected premium distributors to “unfair and unfavorable commercial conditions.”
De Silva said the fine was the “heaviest sanction imposed on an economic player” and explained that Apple’s “extraordinary dimension has been duly taken into account” in setting the amount of the fine.”