back to article Apple faces €48.5m fine from furious French

Apple is reportedly facing a €48.5m (US$55.3m) suit claiming it violated anti-trust rules in France. A report from the local BFM Business [in French] claims that the Cupertino electronics giant leveraged French mobile phone carriers into deals that were unfairly weighted in Apple's favor. The report claims the nation's …

  1. The Nazz Silver badge

    Good job the contract

    wasn't printed on paper with rounded corners else the froggies ( can i say that?) would be owing Apple serious money.

  2. Captain Queeg

    Laughable...

    I'm certain those networks were bullied in to taking the iPhone. Oh yes...

  3. Oengus Silver badge

    "Apple did not respond to a Reg request for comment on the matter."

    And we are surprised by that how?

    1. msknight

      The only surprising thing is why it isn't the number one comment on the thread of any article that involves them.

  4. Likkie

    Just think of the chil... Telcos.

    Oh those poor little telcos bullied by big bad Apple.

    It seems to me that the Telco's lawyers/negotiators are just not up to scratch. They should be suing them for not being able to negotiate a better deal.

    "... Apple took advantage of the popularity of its iPhone... " Ummm Newsflash thats how business works! No one works to make an un-popular product (except AMD).

    No one forced them to sell the iPhone, they could have sold any number of Android devices.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Or looked at the other way:

      Oh that poor little Apple corporation outsmarted by the big bad Telcos.

      It seems to me that Apple's lawyers and negotiators did not spot a €48.5m hole in the deal.

      The Telcos took advantage of Apple's reputation for negotiating horrendous terms with their business partners. Ummm Newsflash: business works best when both sides have something to gain from the deal. No-one gets it right all the time (it would be nice if AMD succeeded a little more often).

      No-one forced Apple to try to evade their responsibility for fixing defective kit. They could have set up the required infrastructure to repair/replace/reimburse devices that failed under warranty just like all the other manufacturers who trade in the EU.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    French law is based around a concept of civil code rather than the common law / case law system we use in most English-speaking countries. The concept behind it is actually very sane and sensible but somewhat inflexible - It made the law accessible to anyone who wants to read it, rather than needing to go through countless cases for precedent.

    The likelihood is that the sales agreements breeched their highly codified competition law. There wouldn't be an awful lot of legal opinion involved in these cases. It's either breeched it or it hasn't and the case would be pretty open and shut. It can seem 'odd' to people used to adversarial common law systems.

    Also, it's not like they're protecting any French companies competing with Apple. There simply aren't any. Before anyone mentions Alcatel, it's just a licensed French brand. The company is actually TCL Corporation of China. Alcatel / Alcatel-Lucent (now a part of Nokia) hasn't had any involvement in that business since 2005.

    Yeah, it looks odd and they could have sold other product lines or negotiated harder but, you also can't construct contracts in a way that conflicts with the law and it's really up to the seller to be aware of French law if contract in France. It's the world's 6th largest consumer market, and tripping over legalities that dramatically is silly.

    It's pocket change to Apple though.

    1. eesiginfo

      Correct, and probably also additionally correct.

      The mobile phone game was built on weird prctices..... locking people into contracts, and making it difficult to get out at the end of contract.

      Things have improved, but still alot of people are locked in to a path.

      Biggest baddest boy is not always great for the consumer.

      That's why we have regulation.

      Some companies are so big.... they need regulation.

    2. Ripper38

      Apple faces €48.5m fine from furious French

      @AC. "It's pocket change to Apple though".

      It maybe be pocket change at the moment but the French will keep nibbling the Apple until it starts to feel the pinch and as a wise man once said " Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But the punters...

    ..are wilingly ripped off.

    Nothing to see. So what if they are also forced to get the money back from none iGadget buyers.

  7. Fihart

    Don't buy phones from telcos

    It may be convenient for manufacturers and short-attention-span consumers but retailing phones via cellular providers is a recipe for exploitation.

    Okay, smart shoppers can sometimes take advantage of locked phone contracts but the majority of users are just treated like cash cows, happily paying through the nose for a "free" phone.

    Apple is the most egregious example, where perfectly functional phones are artificially hobbled so that they lock to the first provider they're used with.

    This doesn't require legislation (though it would help to grow altenative retail channels for phones ) instead just spread the word that everyone should buy unlocked phones and then pick a provider which offers a deal sufficiently transparent to ensure individuals can choose a plan priced to really suit them.

    1. Slx

      Re: Don't buy phones from telcos

      I can fully understand the need to recoup the cost of an expensive handset. You can't realistically expect a business to give away handsets if customers can just walk away and not pay for them or you'd have a lot of bankrupt telcos around.

      However, a lot of what they do is pretty much a rip-off. Things like lock ins for 18 months on cheap handsets or in some cases on sim-only plans and insane out-of-bundle data rates that are absolutely price gouging.

      Apple don't lock (in anyway) their sim free handsets. You're only locked in if the handset is sold by a carrier as per the carrier's T&Cs. It's nothing to do with Apple.

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