French competition officials drastically reduced Apple’s $1.1 billion antitrust penalties, dealing a setback to European Union efforts to rein in the power of Big Tech.
A representative confirmed Thursday that the Paris appeals court had reduced the sentence from 728.4 million euros to 371.6 million euros, or about a third of the amount of the initial penalty.
The initial rate used to determine the punishment was lowered, and the court dismissed one of the price-fixing accusations, therefore the total sum was reduced by around 80%, as reported by Reuters.
When approached by CNBC, France’s competition regulator declined to comment.
Apple Wins Reduction
Apple was fined 1.1 billion euros in 2020 by the French antitrust police for allegedly exploiting the economic dependency of its outside dealers by pressing them to control the pricing of their non-iPhone items, such as its Mac and iPad computers.
Electronics distributors Tech Data and Ingram Micro were also hit with hefty fines of EUR 76.1 and EUR 62.9 million, respectively.
Officials said that the tech giant, Tech Data, and Ingram Micro had colluded to eliminate competition from independent resellers, “thereby sterilizing the marketplace for Apple devices.”
Despite Apple’s agreement with the court’s decision to restore a portion of the French antitrust penalties, the company said it believes the verdict should be reversed in its entirety and would appeal.
In a statement sent to CNBC on Thursday, Apple stated, “The ruling pertains to practices from almost a decade ago which even the FCA acknowledged are no longer in use.”
In addition to Apple Stores, the corporation also has a “far broader network of merchants and resellers” in France.
This is bad news for European antitrust regulators who have been working to limit the power of internet giants amid fears that they are squeezing out smaller competitors in the digital market.