French Regulators Hit Apple With $1.23 Billion Fine, Charge Anti-Competitive Practices

Adding to Apple’s woes, the tech giant was just hit with a massive $1.23 billion fine by French antitrust regulators.

Following a years-long investigation, the French Competition Authority determined that Apple engaged in anti-competitive behavior while distributing its products from 2005 through 2013.

“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,” stated Isabelle de Silva, president of the Competition Authority.

The wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, have been fined nearly $85 million and $70 million, respectively.

For its part, Apple said it plans to appeal the decision.

"We strongly disagree with [the French Competition Authority] and plan to appeal,” the company stated.



Regarding the rationale for the fine, Apple said: “It relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards 30 years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries.”

The decision couldn’t come at a worse time for Apple.

At the beginning of the month, the company agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle what came to be known as the ‘Batterygate’ class-action lawsuit.

Filed between 2017 and 2018, multiple suits alleged Apple intentionally throttled the batteries of older iPhones in order to boost the sale of newer phones. In 2018, the suits were combined in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

How much ‘Batterygate’ ultimately costs Apple depends on how many claims are filed, but the company agreed to pay no less than $310 million.

Meanwhile, citing the still-spreading coronavirus, Apple recently said it does not expect to meet revenue guidance previously provided for its fiscal second quarter.

In January, Apple said it was expecting net sales to be in the range of $63 billion to $67 billion for the March quarter. The company did not offer a revised projection this week.

What the World Health Organization is calling coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19) has hit Apple’s business on multiple fronts in China.

As the U.S. tech giant said earlier this month, the public-health crisis briefly crippled product production in the country. Though all of its facilities have since reopened, manufacturing is ramping up more slowly than Apple previously predicted.
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