France slaps Apple with record $1.2 billion fine
PARIS, France – France's competition authority slapped a record 1.1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) fine on US tech giant Apple on Monday, March 16, for anti-competitive behavior towards its independent retail distributors.
The authority said it found that Apple acted to prevent independent retailers in France from competing on price and abused its economic power over them.
The head of the authority, Isabelle de Silva, said it was "the heaviest fine against a firm" as well as in any case, which also included two of Apple's wholesalers in France who were hit with fines worth nearly 140 million euros. (READ: France passes law taxing digital giants in defiance of U.S. anger)
The case began in 2012 when one of Apple's independent premium resellers complained about uncompetitive practices that included squeezing off supplies in favor of its own stores.
The authority found 3 areas of anti-competitive behavior.
The first was that Apple and its wholesalers agreed not to compete against one another.
Second, independent retailers "could not without risk undertake promotions or lower prices, which led to an an alignment of retail prices," said de Silva.
"Finally, Apple abusively exploited the economic dependence of these Premium resellers on it and imposed unfair economic conditions on them that were worse than those for its integrated network of retailers," she added. – Rappler.com