France slaps Apple with €1.1bn anti-competition fine

Published: 17 March 2020 - 5:47 a.m.

The French Competition Authority has fined US tech giant, Apple, €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) for using anti-competitive practices in the country.

The FCA accused Apple of forcing its wholesale retailers to charge the same amount for its products as would be charged in its own retail outlets.

Isabelle de Silva, the president of the French Competition Authority, said that "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”.

Apple has said that it will appeal against the ruling which is the biggest fine ever to be handed out by the French Competition Authority.

“The French Competition Authority’s decision is disheartening,” Mr. Rosenstock said. “It relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards 30 years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries,” said Josh Rosenstock, a spokesman for Apple.

The fine comes at a time when Apple is already battling against enormous financial challenges as well as disruption to its supply chains, as a result of the current Coronavirus epidemic.

Despite a torrid 2019, which saw Apple relinquish a large share of its market share to Chinese competitors, sales of its flagship iPhone smartphone rallied in the fourth quarter of the year.

A new industry report, published by Gartner, shows that Apple pushed out 69.5 million iPhones in Q4 2019, increasing its market share for the quarter to 17.1 per cent, up from 15.8 per cent on a year on year basis.

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