French reseller takes Apple to court over allegations of unfair competition

French reseller takes Apple to court over allegations of unfair competition

Just as you thought it was safe to call an end to Apple’s legal wranglings of 2011, a new one has emerged. Now, French company eBizcuss, which is the largest Apple reseller in the country, has sued the Cupertino firm over allegations that is using its retail stores to gain a competitive advantage, as Apple Insider reports.

The French company is claiming that Apple holds an unfair advantage over its resellers because it  favors its own retail stores over them when it ships new products to the country. It also alleges that Apple is using pricing to get it a distinct sales advantage in France.

IfoAppleStore, a dedicated Apple retail store blog, cites French newspaper Le Figaro as reporting that eBizcuss suffered a 30 percent drop in business across its 16 locations during the third quarter as its supply of iPad 2 devices and MacBook Air laptops “dryed up”. Furthermore, the company had issues with the iPhone 4S as it was unable to get stock from Apple, according to an interview with its CEO François Prudent.

Prudent says that the problems began when Apple opened its first store in Paris in 2009. eBizcuss has since spent $6.5 million bringing its point-of-sale system up to the standard that Apple requested, yet Prudent claims that the US firm is unfairly grabbing its business by undercutting it on price:

The proposals submitted to Apple commercial enterprises are lower than prices at which we buy the equipment.

The growth in Apple Stores has put increasing pressure on resellers, who are feeling the squeeze from the competition of Apple’s own name which is quite often considerably more appealing to consumers. eBizcuss was one of the first Apple resellers in France and its complaint is yet another legal case which has been brought on Apple this year.

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