The Autorité de la concurrence hands out fines totalling €1,1 billion to Apple for engaging in anticompetitive agreements within its distribution network and abuse of a situation of economic dependency with regard to its “premium” independent distributors.
The two wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were also fined, respectively, €76,1 million and €62,9 million for one of the anticompetitive agreement practices.
Isabelle de Silva, President of the Autorité de la concurrence, stated: “ In the course of this case, the Autorité untangled the very particular practices that had been implemented by Apple for the distribution of its products in France (excluding Iphones), such as iPad. First, 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. Secondly, so-called Premium distributors could not safely carry out promotions or lower prices, which led to an alignment of retail prices between Apple’s integrated distributors and independent Premium distributors. Finally, Apple has abused the economic dependence of these Premium distributors on it, by subjecting them to unfair and unfavorable commercial conditions compared to its network of integrated distributors. Given the strong impact of these practices on competition in the distribution of Apple products via Apple premium resellers, the Autorité has imposed the highest penalty ever pronounced in a case (€1.24 billion). It is also the heaviest sanction imposed on an economic player, in this case Apple (€1.1 billion), whose extraordinary dimension has been duly taken into account. Finally, the Autorité considered that in this case Apple had committed an abuse of economic dependence on its premium retailers, a practice which the Autorité considers to be particularly serious. ”