PARIS (AFP) — France’s competition authority slapped a record $1.2 billion fine on U.S. tech giant Apple on Monday for anticompetitive behavior toward 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” in any case, which included two of Apple’s wholesalers in France who were hit with fines worth nearly 140 million euros.
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 three areas of anticompetitive 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 alignment of retail prices,” de Silva said.
“Finally,” she added,” 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.”
© Agence France-Presse