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France fines Apple record €1.1 billion for anti-competitive behaviour

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An Apple store in Paris
An Apple store in Paris   -   Copyright  AP
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The competition watchdog in France has fined Apple a record €1.1 billion for anti-competitive behaviour.

It fined the tech giant for preventing distributors from differentiating offers and prices.

The company was also found to have abused the economic dependence of its resellers.

"Apple and its two wholesalers agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilising the wholesale market for Apple products," said Isabelle de Silva, president of France's competition authority.

Moreover, "the so-called +premium+ distributors could not safely engage in price promotions or price cuts, which led to an alignment of retail prices between Apple's integrated distributors and independent +premium+ distributors", she continued.

It is the highest sanction levied by the French watchdog, which stressed it was the most important sanction against a company due to the “extraordinary dimension" of the case.

Its two wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were also fined €76.1 million and €62.9 million respectively for "one of the cartel practices".

The competition watchdog had been contacted in 2012 by the eBizcuss website, a distributor of high-end specialist Apple products which was, at the time, the US giant's first exclusive reseller in France: the latter had lodged a complaint for unfair competition, abuse of a dominant position and abuse of economic dependence.

eBizcuss, which employed 130 people, complained that Apple had supplied it with fewer and fewer products and that over the years it had refocused its business on its own Apple Stores. It folded in May 2012.

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