French competition authority raids Apple France

The Autorité de la Concurrence also raided two Apple distributors last week

Apple is under investigation by the French competition authority, which has raided the company's offices in France, and those of several distributors, a spokesman for the authority said Monday

The spokesman declined to say which distributors were raided, nor why Apple and its distributors were under investigation.

The Autorité de la Concurrence can take action against anticompetitive activities such as the formation of cartels or abuse of a dominant market position either on its own initiative or as a result of a complaint.

In this case it's not clear what prompted the authority's action but in April last year, Apple reseller eBizcuss filed suit against Apple at the Paris Commercial Court, accusing it of abuse of a dominant market position. However, before the case reached trial eBizcuss went into liquidation, and its eight stores retailing Apple products have now closed.

Former staff said Apple gave eBizcuss strict specifications for how to decorate its stores and train its staff, and ordered it to sell mostly Apple-branded products. Failure to follow those rules would have cost it a wholesale price discount that allowed it to match Apple's retail prices, a former employee said last year.

Discounts of another sort may also be the reason for the competition authority's raid last week, according to French Apple news site Mac4Ever, which cited reports from unnamed sources that resellers were increasing their margins by profiting from rebate offers intended for end users.

The competition authority's spokesman declined to name the distributors whose offices had been raided, and said the authority did not usually comment on investigations in progress. In this instance, it only commented because local media had received notice of the investigation by other channels, and asked about the raids directly.

The duration of an investigation can vary widely, but on average will take around 18 months, after which the authority may choose to take action, or to let the matter drop. The authority will not comment again on this investigation unless it chooses to take action, the spokesman said.

An Apple spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleantitrustlegal

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?