The regulator cited collusion with wholesalers for price alignment among its chief complaints

France has imposed on Apple a €1.1 billion antitrust fine, the largest of its kind in the regulator’s history.

The fine stems from Apple agreeing with two wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, not to compete over the pricing of Apple products. This left the products priced at around half that of the French retail market, stifling competition.

“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 the Autorité de la Concurrence.

The regulator said it became aware of this issue following a probe in 2012 and claims the offences spanned a 12-year period from 2005 to 2017.

Tech Data and Ingram Micro both also received fines; €76 million and €63 million, respectively.

Apple, naturally, have vowed to appeal the decision, branding it “disheartening”.

“It [the fine] relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards thirty years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries,” read a statement from Apple.

US tech giants are coming under increasing scrutiny in Europe, with Apple, Google, and Facebook all being fined in recent years, often over tax-related issues. The European Commission has typically led the charge in this regard, but the new UK budget announced last week shows that post-Brexit Britain has no intention of becoming a playground for these companies, introducing a new Digital Services Tax. The 2% tax will be implemented on the 1st of April and will apply to the revenues of search engines, social media services, and online marketplaces which derive value from UK users.


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