Apple succeeds in its Appeal to reduce its French Antitrust fine of $1.2 Billion by 2/3 - Maxandfix

Apple succeeds in its Appeal to reduce its French Antitrust fine of $1.2 Billion by 2/3

The verdict is subject to appeal by both Apple and French officials.

Due to antitrust violations with two wholesalers, Apple was charged with a record €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) punishment in France in 2020. According to Reuters, the Paris court of appeals has now lowered the fine by two thirds to just €371.6 million ($364.6 million today). The previous fine was decreased by the court because it was deemed to be "disproportionate," and the new amount is "adequate to assure that the penalties are repressive and dissuasive."

The initial complaint claimed that by agreeing to refrain from rivalry, Apple and its distribution partners Ingram Micro and Tech Data "sterilized the wholesale market for Apple products." Due to this, other premium distributors were compelled to maintain their rates at a level with integrated distributors. Apple promptly declared that it will appeal the ruling, calling it "disheartening" and claiming that it ignored 30 years of French legal history.

Apple claimsit is still not pleased and that it will appeal the fine once more to France's highest court. The Autorité de la concurrence in France, which regulates antitrust, is also considering an appeal. Virginie Guin, director of communications for l'Autorité, stated, "We would like to restate our desire to guarantee the dissuasive nature of our sanctions, especially when it concerns market actors of the quality of ."

The cut is a part of an ongoing conflict between Silicon Valley tech companies and France, the EU, and both. Google recently lost an appeal in a €4.34 billion EU antitrust case over its control of the Android system, however the fine was cut to €4.12 billion ($4.04 billion). Last year, Google was fined €500 million for its news monopoly in France.

For what it deemed to be Apple's anti-competitive behaviour toward its distribution and retail network, France's antitrust watchdog had levied the first penalties in 2020. At the time, it was the largest fine the antitrust regulator had ever imposed. The regulator claimed that Apple had set pricing on retail premium resellers to ensure that they were comparable to those imposed by the California company in its own stores or online.

One of the two sources claimed that the appeals court upheld the antitrust watchdog's claim that Apple had abused the merchants' financial dependence on it but dismissed the fixed-price claim.

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