Apple was fined a record 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) by French antitrust regulators after the Cupertino Colossus was found to have anti-competitive agreements with two favored distributors. The French agency, Autorité de la Concurrence, said Apple conspired with Tech Data and Ingram Micro to thwart wholesale competition for non-iPhone products such as Macintosh computers. Tech Data and Ingram Micro were fined 76.1 million euros and 63 million euros, respectively.
“Apple and its two wholesalers agreed to not compete against each other and prevent resellers from promoting competition between each other, thus sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products,” Isabelle de Silva, head of the French agency, said in a statement on Monday.
The French regulator said the Apple case was prompted by a complaint lodged by eBizcuss, an Apple premium reseller, in 2012.
Antitrust officials say Apple’s actions froze market shares and prevented competition between different distribution channels for the brand. Apple allegedly took measures to force premium resellers to provide the same prices as it did in Apple Stores and on its website.
The tech company also created an economic dependency for premium resellers, France’s Autorité de la Concurrence said. The resellers were contractually obliged to sell nearly only Apple products yet at times were not supplied with new products even when they were available on Apple’s website or in its stores.
MacDailyNews Take: According to the report, Apple said the French decision “will cause chaos for companies across all industries” and vowed an appeal.