Autorité de la Concurrence, France’s antitrust body has fined Apple 1.1 billion euros ($1.23 billion) for anti-competitive behavior in its distribution network and an abuse of economic dependence on its resellers, reports Reuters.
Two of Apple’s wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were fined 63 million euros and 76 million euros respectively, for unlawfully agreeing on prices, the article adds.
“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,” Autorité de la Concurrence said.
Apple said it would appeal the watchdog’s ruling, which it said was at odds with legal precedent in France.
In March 2018, Apple issued a statement to the French language site, MacGeneration allegations made by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire that it and Alphabet’s Google are guilty of “abusive commercial practices.”
Le Maire’s office said an investigation by the ministry’s fraud office determined that between 2015 and 2017 there were “significant imbalances” in the relationship between the two companies and developers who sold via their application stores. He said the fines could be in the “million of euros.”
Here’s Apple’s statement: “We are proud to have strong relationships with tens of thousands of developers across France, who have earned 1 billion euros on the App Store. Many of these talented developers founded their companies with one or two people and then saw their teams grow to offer their applications to users in 155 countries. This was only possible thanks to Apple’s investment in iOS, development tools, and the App Store. Apple has always defended the confidentiality and security of users and does not have access to user transactions with third-party applications. We are fully prepared to share our history in the French courts and to clarify this misunderstanding. In the meantime, we will continue to help French developers realize their dreams and support French students in their learning of the code through our coding program.”