According to a report from BFM.TV (via iPhon.fr), France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) has launched a case before a court in Paris claiming Apple owes 48.5 million euros. The complaint points to clauses in contracts Apple has with mobile operators in the country that the DGCCRF, a governing body under the Ministry of Finance, claims are illegal and essentially provide Apple with too much power over the carriers.
The DGCCRF outlined 10 clauses in Apple’s contracts specifically that it wants the company to remove. The clauses relate to stipulations Apple enforces including the amount of product carriers must order, advertising requirements, mobile plans and other guidelines the carriers must follow in order to sell iPhones. Other clauses relate to Apple’s permission to use patents held by carriers, requirements for carriers covering costs of iPhone repairs and in-store displays, and the fact that Apple doesn’t have to adhere to similar guidelines within the contracts. We’ve translated them from French below:
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- 1- Carriers need to order a minimum number of units over 3 years
- 2- Carriers can’t established their own phone contract plans/payments
- 3- Carriers need to contribute to a fund for advertising managed by Apple
- 4 – Carriers have to finance the iPhone’s in-store display
- 5 – Apple can use the carrier’s brands as they see fit, but not the other way around.
- 6 – Carriers have to follow strict conditions on their orders, but Apple doesn’t have to commit to respect the same orders.
- 7 – Carriers have to contribute to iPhone reparation cost.
- 8 – Apple can void the contract with a carrier without prior notice
- 9 – Apple can use patents held by the carriers
- 10 – Apple gets conditions at least as beneficial – or even more beneficial – as other competitors for the price without contract, quality of service, commissions to salespeople, loaner cost, and limitations on customer service.
The 48.5 million euros the DGCCRF wants Apple to pay includes €14 million for SFR, €11.6 million for Orange, €6.7 million for Bouygues Telecom and $8.2 million for Free Mobile. There are also an additional €8 million fines to bring up the total to 48.5 million euros.