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France to Fine Apple for Anti-Competitive Behavior

By Rich Smith - Mar 13, 2020 at 10:03AM

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While the fine's size is unknown, it's expected to be "among the biggest individual fines" ever levied by France's anti-monopoly regulator.

After nearly a decade of investigations, France's "Autorité de la Concurrence" anti-monopoly agency is finally ready to levy a fine upon Apple (AAPL 1.55%) on Monday, reported Politico Europe last night.

Eight years ago, in April 2012, Apple reseller eBizcuss.com (now defunct) filed a complaint against Apple alleging that the company was abusing its market power by placing illegal restrictions in its contracts for distribution and sales of Apple products and services, favoring certain wholesalers over others. This complaint prompted "dawn raids" on Apple offices in 2013, the legality of which Apple contested, unsuccessfully, in a court decision handed down in 2018.

Apple with a bite out of it

French antimonopoly regulator could take a bite out of Apple. Image source: Getty Images.

Now, the saga is finally set to wrap up -- maybe. According to Politico, France's anti-monopoly agency will enact a penalty "among the biggest individual fines -- if not the biggest -- the watchdog has ever set," and announce its decision on Monday. Apple, however, has denied that it violated French law and can be expected to appeal.  

This is not the first time Apple has faced government prosecution in France. Just last month, France's Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud announced that Apple had agreed to pay a 25 million-euro fine for failing to inform iPhone owners that installing the 10.2.1 and 11.2 iOS operating system updates would slow the performance of their iPhones.  

Nor is Apple the only American tech company in France's sights. In December, the Autorité de la Concurrence fined Alphabet's (GOOG 1.49%) (GOOGL 1.37%) Google division 150 million euros for "changing its terms of use and rules [for using Google Ads] at will," reported Reuters at the time.  

Google is appealing that decision.

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