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Apple Hit With $1.2B Fine By French Antitrust Authorities

Antitrust authorities in France have fined Apple Inc.

Benzinga · 03/17/2020 10:43

Antitrust authorities in France have fined Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) $1.2 billion after finding the iPhone maker abused its economic position to prevent Premium resellers from selling at lower prices.

What Happened

Apple, along with two of its wholesalers, was accused of controlling prices at Premium Resellers of Apple products. According to Forbes, the investigation started in 2012 after the collapse of eBizcuss, an Apple Premium Reseller. Tech Data and Ingram Micro, the two Apple wholesalers involved, were fined a total of $156 million.

The antitrust authorities found that Apple had stopped resellers from lowering prices and was forcing them to sell at the same price as Apple’s own channels. The company also exposed its Premium resellers to “unfair and unfavorable commercial conditions” in comparison to its integrated channels.

Why It Matters

This is not Apple’s first run-in with French authorities. The company was fined $27 million for slowing down older iPhones by the French competition and fraud agency last month. In the United States, Apple settled similar allegations for $500 million this month.

U.S. tech companies have come under fire in Europe on a wide array of issues. Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) search engine Google was fined $167 million in December for abusing its power and mistreating advertisers. Social media giant Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and others are also facing criticism concerning their social responsibility and democracy norms. 

Price Action

Apple shares traded 3.22% higher at $250 in the after-hours session on Monday. The shares had closed the regular session 12.86% lower at $242.21.