Apple has been slammed with a whopping $1.2 billion fine by the French competition authority, the Autorité de la Concurrence for illegally restricting wholesalers from selling Apple products. Along with fining Apple, the antitrust authority has also fined two other wholesalers, Ingram Micro and Tech Data.
The initial probe was launched by the Autorité de la Concurrence back in 2012 when a complaint was filed by a premium reseller eBizcuss.com before the website went out of business. The antitrust authority also claimed that this fine is highest it has ever fined.
French authorities looking into the case have stated that Apple has pleaded guilty on a series of anti-competitive practices. The authorities highlighted that Apple and the two wholesalers decided to sway from competing against each other.
Additionally, the tech giant also restricted its premium resellers from decreasing prices on Apple products, causing the price across half of Apple retail market to stay identical. Apple was also accused of treating its premium resellers unfairly, in some cases the company also limited the supply to its own partnered stores. These treacherous practices have been applied across popular Apple devices like the iPad, however, the iPhones were unaffected.
In response to the accusation, Apple responded that "it 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." Additionally, the tech giant has also claimed to appeal to this claim.
Even if Apple appeals to the claim, it would be quite interesting to see how the company plans on pricing its future products. The company has been popularly known for cultivating a premium market figure and it would come as a surprise if the pricing on its "premium" devices drops dramatically. Recently, the company was also fined $500 million for slowing down its older iPhone devices.
The general consumers have been quite happy with the action taken by the French competition authority. The case under the Autorité de la Concurrence signals Apple's generation shift on its products over the years and it would be interesting to see how the tech giant reacts after coming out of this case.