French authorities have raided several premises belonging to Apple and its channel partners across France this week as part of a wide ranging antitrust investigation.
The news was broken by French financial newspaper Les Échos, which reported that authorities had seized documents, in particular information relating to Apple’s distributors. A spokesman for France’s Competition Authority confirmed the raids.
The story referenced eBizcuss, a large Apple reseller in France that collapsed last year. The company’s CEO, François Prudent subsequently complained to the regulator Apple was deliberately starving its partners of products - in particular iPads and iPhones - in order to advance the fortunes of its own retail outlets.
According to Les Échos, the regulator is seeking to determine whether Apple did indeed order its wholesalers to delay the delivery of key products.
The regulator’s spokesman also confirmed an ongoing investigation of Apple and a number of internet companies suspected of anti-competitive behaviour in the running of their app stores.
Closer to home, Apple’s relationship with its Australian channel has been fractious of late, with CRN breaking the news late last year the tech giant dumped some 200 of its local partners without warning or explanation.
Apple is also one of the leading targets of Australia's ongoing parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing. And the company’s tax practices, in particular shifting revenues to low taxing havens such as Ireland and The Netherlands, have fuelled cries for reforms to international accounting regulations.
Apple declined to comment for this article.