The record €1.1 billion penalty levied on Apple Inc. in 2020 for anti-competitive arrangements with two preferred distributors was reduced by the European Commission to a total of 728 million euros ($715 million).
On Thursday, judges at the Paris court of appeals agreed to decrease total punishment to about €371.6 million by shortening the length of one of the infractions and decreasing the increments applied to the penalty that took into consideration the company’s economic might.
In 2020, Apple paid a fine to the antitrust authorities in France because it was determined that the company had forced Authorized Resellers in France to offer prices consistent with those at retail locations and Apple.com. According to the BBC, the amount was decreased when the appeals court dismissed one of the three primary counts linked to price-fixing claims and drastically reduced the rate employed to determine the total fine.
One of the major French wholesalers claimed that Apple’s anti-competitive policies were to blame for the wholesaler’s demise, prompting the company to launch an inquiry. The French Competition Authority’s decision to punish Tech Giant in 2020 was “disheartening,” according to Apple, since it “discards thirty years of legal precedent.”
Tech Giant has been facing several antitrust lawsuits for violations, as previously, the Brazilian government also took the tech giant into the hands of selling chargers along its device. Apple has to face similar circumstances there as well. It appealed for fine or punishment relaxation, but still, it’s all in the face. However, here it won the battle, and a significant tax reduction will do for it, and it is also claiming more appeals.
Since the clause allowed the identification of the Courts that might have to dispose of a dispute between the parties relating to the interpretation or performance of the contract, “the Court of Appeal validly found that this clause complied with the foreseeability principle that jurisdiction clauses must meet.”
Reuters reports that the reduction occurred because the court dismissed one of the price-fixing claims and reduced the rate used to determine the initial punishment. When CNBC contacted the French competition authorities for comment, nobody answered the phone.
According to the source, the Paris appeals court reduced the punishment since one of the three primary counts connected to suspicions of price-fixing was dropped. According to our information, the court also agreed to reduce the rate used to determine the total fine considerably. Because of Apple’s size and resources, the French antitrust agency utilized a steep discount in 2020.
The French competition commission fined Tech Giant 1.1 billion Euros in 2020 for allegedly exploiting the economic dependency of its outside dealers by pushing them to set the pricing on non-iPhone items like its Mac and iPad devices. Global electronic components distributors Tech Data and Ingram Micro were also hit with hefty fines of EUR 76.1 million and EUR 62.9 million, respectively.
Apple’s Substance on Fine
Apple has indicated it would submit yet another appeal with France’s highest court to reduce the fine to zero. A statement stated, “We think it should be reversed in full.” The French competition authority has indicated that it is contemplating filing an appeal of its own.
After receiving the record-breaking penalties as part of a drive to clamp down on tech company dominance, French authorities were accused of violating antitrust regulations “for political aims” Apple during a hearing last year in the appeal case.
The French body that issued the judgment in 2020 said that Apple and two wholesalers, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, had conspired to reduce competition in the wholesale market for items other than the iPhone. Both were hit with €76.1 million and €63 million penalties.