French antitrust watchdog hits Apple with record $1.2 billion fine

France’s antitrust watchdog fined Apple about $1.2 billion on Monday for alleged anti-competitive practices.

The French Competition Authority issued the fine of 1.1 billion euros — the largest it has ever imposed on a single firm — after finding the tech giant “guilty of cartels” and of abusing its resellers’ economic dependence. French officials also fined two Apple wholesalers a total of 139 million euros, or roughly $155 million.

“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,” Isabelle de Silva, the competition authority’s president, said in a translated news release.

The wholesalers, US-based Tech Data and Ingram Micro, implemented the “product and customer allocation mechanisms” that Apple developed instead of setting their own policy, according to French officials. The authority said it fined Tech Data 76.1 million euros while Ingram Micro was fined 62.9 million euros.

Apple also caused supply issues and “discriminatory treatment” for the company’s resellers, according to the competition authority.

None of the three fined companies immediately responded to requests for comment Monday morning. But Apple said in its most recent quarterly report that it “vigorously disagrees” with the competition authority’s allegations.

A spokesperson for the company told CNBC that it plans to appeal and called the decision “disheartening.”

“It relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards thirty years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries,” the Apple spokesperson told CNBC.

French officials also slapped Apple with a 25 million-euro fine in February over software updates that were likely to slow down older iPhones.

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