Apple has been under the radar of regulators for a long time, the company faced many penalties over bypassing local law, the company was hit by a $9 million penalty in Australia a couple of years ago.
Quite recently, the company was fined $500 million for slowing down the older phone models and today the French authorities have decided to inflict the 1.2 billion dollars amid price and competition law breach. The competition watchdogs believe that Apple’s business conduct violated applicable anti-trust laws.
As the French competition regulator announced today, it is demanding Apple to pay a fine of around EUR 1.1 billion or 1.2 billion dollars. The company is said to have violated competition law by concluding exclusive contracts with certain distribution partners and also exploiting the economic dependency of certain resellers.
Price manipulations along with major distributors
Apple has partnered with a number of major distributors to build cartels within its sales network. The distributors, and wholesalers, are responsible for the distribution of Apple products to the affiliated retailers and are thus between Apple and the retailers. They had signed contracts with Apple in which prices and quantities were precisely defined – without allowing the authorities the freedom they needed to freely structure prices.
The French authorities assume that technology wholesalers Ingram Micro and Tech Data were also involved in the cartel formation with Apple. They were therefore also fined EUR 62.9 and 76.1 million, respectively. The two companies are globally active groups that specialize in the distribution of electronic products of all kinds and work together with various brands.
In total, the fines announced today amount to 1.24 billion euros. It is the largest single penalty in France’s history. Apple said through a company spokesman that the decision was considered unfair and would, therefore, use legal means to defend itself. Among other things, the group criticizes that the case concerned business practices that were more than ten years ago.
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