Tech Data Appeals $83M Fine In French Antitrust Case With Apple

Tech Data announced Tuesday, March 24, it disagrees with and will appeal the findings of a French government agency that a week ago fined the Largo-based technology distribution company US$83.7 million.

“In the area of competition law, Tech Data is committed to competing independently in the marketplace in full compliance with all applicable antitrust and competition laws wherever the company operates,” the company stated in a news release.

The French Autorité de la Concurrence, or competition authority, assessed the fine, plus a record-setting US$1.2 billion fine against Apple and a US$69 million fine against a second wholesaler, Ingram Micro, based in Irvine, California.

Acting on a complaint, the agency began investigating the three US companies in 2012, seized corporate documents in 2013 raids, and concluded that Apple, Tech Data, and Ingram Micro worked to undermine competition among some 2,000 retailers selling Apple products from 2005 to 2013.

In announcing its appeal, Tech Data pointed out that English-language version of the French competition authority’s news release announcing the fines on March 16 has since been updated to remove a reference to the US companies acting as a cartel.

Rather, the company stated the agency’s decision concerned “alleged anti-competitive vertical agreements between Apple and its wholesalers regarding volume allocations of Apple products,” not including the iPhone.

“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,” competition authority president Isabelle de Silva said in the updated news release.

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