Apple’s €1.1 Billion French antitrust fine slashed by 66%

French regulator has been cracking down on Big Tech

Apple won a €728 million reduction to the record €1.1 billion penalty it was hit with in 2020 in France for anticompetitive agreements with two favoured distributors.

The Paris court of appeals reduced Apple’s total fine on Thursday to about €371.6 million, an official at France’s antitrust watchdog said by phone, without providing details on the reasoning of the judges.

The agency, Autorite de la concurrence, said it’s considering an appeal ruling at France’s top court.

“We would like to reaffirm our desire to guarantee the dissuasive nature of our penalties, especially when it concerns market players of the calibre of, Silicon Valley firms, Virginie Guin, an official at the Autorite, said.


France’s competition arm has kept a close eye on Silicon Valley in recent years. Last year, Google was fined €500 million for failing to follow an order to thrash out fair deals with news publishers. The California tech giant then settled on the substance of that case to avoid further fines but had previously received hefty penalties in separate cases. Facebook parent Meta similarly clinched an agreement earlier this year to steer clear of fines after making pledges concerning the online advertising market.

“While the court correctly reversed part of the French Competition Authority’s decision, we believe it should be overturned in full and plan to appeal, Apple said.

More broadly, regulators across Europe have been battling to rein in the dominance of Big Tech through a combination of fines and regulatory actions. The firms have shown they are willing to appeal the decisions, drawing out costly investigations for years.

At a hearing last year in the appellate case, Apple accused French regulators of bending antitrust rules “for political objectives when they doled out the record-breaking fine as part of a campaign to crack down on tech giant dominance.”

When it dished out the fine in 2020, the French agency said Apple conspired with two wholesalers — Tech Data and Ingram Micro — in a move that thwarted wholesale competition for non-iPhone products such as Apple Mac computers. The duo were also slapped with fines of €76.1 million and €63 million. — Bloomberg