What you need to know
- Apple has been fined $1.3 billion by French competition authorities.
- It is over claims Apple tried to squeeze out iPad and Mac resellers in the country.
- Lawyers for Apple say the fine was a calculated political move and should be overturned.
Lawyers for Apple say that a $1.3 billion fine levied by French competition authorities was a political play that should be overturned.
As reported by Bloomberg:
Apple Inc. accused French regulators of bending antitrust rules "for political objectives" when they doled out a record-breaking 1.1 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) fine as part of a campaign to crack down on Silicon Valley firms.
A lawyer for Apple told a Paris court of Appeals that France's Autorité de la Concurrence "never made a secret" of its goal to crack down on Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple regarding competition matters, and claimed "officials seized upon a poorly crafted complaint from a premium reseller to build a case against Apple."
Apple further alleged the body "clearly wanted to make a mark by hitting hard against Apple." It is alleged that Apple tried to "squeeze" out resellers of its best iPads and Macs, but Apple says the charges don't stand up and the hefty fine should be overturned. That's because the allegations rely on a "false theory" that Apple entered anti-competitive agreements with two wholesalers that hurt resellers. The report continues:
"None of the measures set up by Apple sought to disadvantage" premium resellers, Thill-Tayara said. She said the penalty was artificially inflated by a multiplier factor and "disproportionate" given the allegations and their potential impact, which was at best limited. At the very least, it should be significantly decreased, the lawyer said.
Both wholesalers were also fined and are trying to overturn their respective penalties. In 2020 officials ruled Apple's "actions froze market shares and prevented competition between different distribution channels for the brand." A ruling on the appeal is expected in almost exactly one year.