Following on from the recent controversy surrounding the investigations into abuse of market power by Apple with regards to e-book pricing (both in Europe and the United States), it has emerged that the ‘Autorité de la concurrence’ (the French Competition Regulator) has taken a keen interest in the affairs of Apple in France.
The Competition Regulator carried out a dawn raid at Apple’s offices in Paris, allegedly in response to complaints made by the now bankrupt company eBizcuss (which was previously an Apple Premium Reseller). The company submitted complaints accusing Apple of abuse of market dominance, abuse of economic dependence and unfair competition practices. In particular, complaints were made alleging that Apple favoured its own Apple Stores by stocking newer products, and that resellers were often left with out-dated products. Despite the dawn raids, the Competition Regulator has declined to explain why Apple is under investigation and it remains uncertain as to why the raids occurred.
This is not the first time the French Competition Regulator has taken an interest in Apple. In January this year, it launched an investigation into the mobile app market, of which Apple’s App Store is a major player, to determine whether mobile app stores imposed unfair restrictions on the developers and sellers of apps. The investigation is still underway and could lead to formal proceedings being instituted.
Apple is also facing scrutiny from the European Commission, which is currently monitoring Apple’s pricing policies for the iPad and iPhone following allegations of abuse by telecom operators.
With a number of ongoing investigations into Apple’s conduct, we will keep you informed on developments as these investigations progress.