France Fines Apple Almost $1.4 Billion for Anticompetitive Practices
U.S. tech giant Apple has reportedly been fined €1.1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) by France’s competition watchdog for anticompetitive practices.
France’s competition watchdog has fined U.S. tech giant and iPhone manufacturer Apple 1.1 billion euros for its anticompetitive behavior in its distribution network, accusing Tim Cook’s giant of rigging the market for its products in France.
Two Apple wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were fined 63 million euros and 76 million euros respectively for unlawfully agreeing on prices according to the French watchdog. The watchdog said in a statement:
Apple and its two wholesalers have agreed not to compete with each other and to prevent distributors from competing with each other, thereby sterilising the wholesale market for Apple products.
In February of this year, the French consumer watchdog fined Apple €25 million euro ($27 million) for its lack of transparency surrounding the firm’s decision to purposefully slow down older iPhone devices. Apple has admitted to doing so and apologized for failing to inform its customers about this practice.
It was first reported in 2017 that the firm was using software updates for older iPhones to limit the performance of the devices, adding to a conspiracy theory that the company was intentionally slowing older devices to encourage consumers to upgrade. Apple claims that the devices were slowed down primarily to protect them as the phones batteries age. Agin cell phone batteries have a higher risk of battery drain and unwanted device restarts under high levels of performance, according to Apple.
France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), however, found that Apple’s lack of transparency breached its guidelines saying in a statement:
“The DGCCRF has indeed shown that iPhone owners had not been informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (10.2.1 and 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device.” The watchdog added that Apple had “committed the crime of deceptive commercial practice by omission.”