French fine Apple $1.23bn

Author:OMO Release Date: Mar 24, 2020

The French competition regulator has fined Apple $1.23 billion.

The regulator says Apple imposed prices for Apple products on its French distributors including Tech Data and Ingram Micro which were also fined $84.7 million and $69 million respectively for their part in the arrangement.

The French argued that the Apple Premium Reseller (APR)  programme was illegal under French law.

APR allocated product quantities to distributors and fixed prices at the same level as Apple sold them for.

And APR restricted supplies of product to its distributors at times of heavy demand to steer customers to Apple stores.

French law says a distributor can charge whatever prices they like and can order whatever quantity of product they want, said the French regulator.

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 Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority.

“The French Competition Authority’s decision is disheartening,” Apple told CNBC, “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. We strongly disagree with them and plan to appeal.”

Last year Apple agreed to pay France $571 million for back taxes.

In February French regulators imposed a €25 million Euro fine on Apple for issuing software updates which were said to have slowed down older iPhones.

In January a  French threat to impose a 3% tax on digital tech companies was withdrawn when the US threatened to impose a 100% tariff on French wine and handbags.

An order by the EC that Apple pay $14.5 billion to Ireland for tax saved under illegal tax breaks is under appeal.