The French competition watchdog (Autorité de la Concurrence) has fined Apple $1.2 billion for breaching competition law and imposing unfair restrictions on wholesalers.
Accused of a host of anti-competitive behaviours, Apple has found itself on the end of the highest value penalty ever issued by the authority.
Two Apple wholesalers – Tech Data and Ingram Micro – were also found to have agreed on prices unlawfully and each fined more than $65 million.
An investigation was launched in 2012 following a complaint submitted by reseller eBizcuss.com, which subsequently went out of business.
According to the French authority, Apple and two wholesalers established an unlawful agreement not to compete with one another, the company prevented resellers lowering prices and also limited the supply of premium resellers.
The combined effect of these practices amounted to “sterilising the wholesale market for Apple products,” said the Autorité de la Concurrence.
Apple described the penalty as “disheartening” and hinted that other companies are engaged in identical activities across France without ramifications.
“[The decision] 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 company said in a statement.
Apple has said it plans to appeal the latest penalty at the earliest opportunity.