France's competition watchdog has raided a number of Apple premises and those of some of its French retailers and distributors in a probe into the US company's resale practices.
In the latest in a series of moves against big US technology groups by the French authorities, the competition regulator said the raids took place in different locations in France last week, but declined to give further details.
The investigation follows the collapse last year of eBizcuss, previously the biggest reseller of Apple products in France with 15 stores. It lodged a legal complaint against Apple for alleged unfair supply practices. eBizcuss is reported by Les Echos to have also complained to the competition authority, alleging abuse of Apple's dominant position and unfair competition.
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Last week, iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, also went bust. The Dutch company was hit by the shift in sales from computers to lower margin phones and tablets and a fall in consumer spending.
Apple is already under scrutiny by the EU's competition authority, which is monitoring its pricing practices for iPad and iPhone products for possible antitrust abuse following alerts from telecoms operators. Apple declined to comment.
Operators have complained privately that Apple, which maintains a tight control over sales and marketing for its devices, has used its powerful position to strike tough sales and distribution deals. However, these complaints have been diluted by the growing number of competing devices from competitors such as Samsung.