France’s competition agency has announced a $1.24 billion euro fine against Apple, claiming the tech giant conspired with distributors of gadgets such as the iPad to fix prices and limit competition.
France’s national competition authority found Apple guilty of anti-competitive behavior in its distribution network by conspiring to fix prices and limit competition, explains a new report from CNBC. Two Apple distributors, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were also sanctioned, bringing the total fines issued as part of the decision to 1.24 billion euros.
But the majority of the competition authority’s admonishment was reserved for Apple, which received the heftiest sanction ever to be issued the watchdog.
“First, Apple and its two wholesalers agreed not to compete and prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products,” said President of the French Competition Authority Isabelle de Silva, in a statement. “Secondly, so-called Premium distributors could not risk promoting or lowering prices without risk, which led to an alignment of retail prices between Apple’s integrated distributors and independent Premium distributors.”
Apple says it profoundly disagrees with the ruling and is appealing against it.
The agency also respectively levied fines of $84.7 million USD and $69 million against Tech Data and Ingram Micro for their roles in agreeing to terms that hurt smaller distributors.
Apple is among the Silicon Valley companies that have come under growing regulatory pressure from European Union regulators, as well as various member states. The company is still appealing a decision over its Irish tax breaks that the European Commission found allowed Apple to dodge more than $14.5 billion in taxes.