French antitrust watchdog Autorite de la Concurrence raided Apple offices, wholesalers, and retail stores in France last week as part of an investigation into claims that the Cupertino company carries out anti-competitive practices against third-party retailers by offering consumers better deals through its own stores.
French newspaper Les Echos reports that the watchdog is looking into the way in which Apple distributes its iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macs to independent wholesalers and retailers, who claim the company violates existing agreements by favoring its own retail outlets.
Officials at Apple and Autorite de la Concurrence chose not to comment on the story, but the raid was confirmed by unidentified antitrust officials, MarketWatch reports.
The claims against Apple began in late 2011, when French Apple reseller eBizcuss sued the company for unfair practices. It was alleged that Apple cut the retailer’s shipments of iPads and MacBook Airs after it had spent $6.5 million on upgrading its point-of-sale systems to Apple standards.
Apple was also accused of keeping the iPhone 4S from third-party resellers during the lucrative holiday period, and undercutting its prices so that smaller businesses lost out.
Six months after eBizcuss filed its lawsuit, the company went bankrupt.