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July 02, 2013

Apple France Gets Raided by French Officials

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

French officials have reportedly raided Apple’s (News - Alert) offices in France and seized some key documents. The investigators appear to be associated with the French antitrust watchdog the Autorite de la Concurrence, according to French news sources.

The offices include Apple’s French headquarters and its wholesalers and distributors in France, as well.

The raid is seen in response to allegations that Apple may discriminate against independent retailers, favoring its own stores, news reports said.  Such favoritism may include Apple having its newest products, such as the iPhone, in its own stores but not in other retail outlets, news reports add.

EBizcuss, an Apple reseller which has some 15 stores in France and Belgium and went into bankruptcy in 2012, blamed Apple for failing to provide any of the iPhone (News - Alert) 4S devices to sell in its 15 stores, The Telegraph reported.

The move is seen by some as part of an ongoing campaign by the French government against Apple, Google (News - Alert) and Amazon.

“The raid of Apple’s offices is probably linked to claims that Apple is misusing its pricing power on iPhone and iPad devices,” according to a report from BGR. The French are also alleging that Apple and Google are “unfairly leveraging the power of their app markets, locking consumers permanently to their closed ecosystems and dictating which apps are approved and which are not,” the report said.

Image via Shutterstock

At the same time, the French government may ban deep discounting on merchandise and free delivery – both of which are done by Amazon.

BGR says there appears to be a “national strategy aimed at reining in the most powerful American technology companies,” BGR adds.

In addition, France may try to convince other European nations to “challenge Apple’s pricing practices, Google’s lock on search business and Amazon’s delivery and discounting strategy,” BGR said.

In related news, France’s CNIL may fine Google for its current privacy policies. On top of that, French officials recently blocked Yahoo from taking over DailyMotion.

These events were described as a “war” waged by France against U.S. tech firms, according to TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani. “First the French go after the terms, then the business models and finally the companies themselves,” he wrote in a blog post.

Edited by Blaise McNamee
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