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Apple faces €48.5m fine from furious French

Regulators say deals with carriers went too far

Apple is reportedly facing a €48.5m (US$55.3m) suit claiming it violated anti-trust rules in France.

A report from the local BFM Business [in French] claims that the Cupertino electronics giant leveraged French mobile phone carriers into deals that were unfairly weighted in Apple's favor.

The report claims the nation's Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) is filing suit in a French Commercial Court claiming that Apple took advantage of the popularity of its iPhone to push carriers into agreeing to deals that violated anti-trust laws.

According to the report, Apple is accused of, among other transgressions, pushing the local carriers into deals that see them cover Apple's costs for marketing the handsets in France and paying for repairs on iPhones the carriers sell.

The suit asks that Apple be forced to pay back a total of €48.5m (US$55.3m) in fines and rebates to the carriers. Carriers named in the report include SFR, Orange and Bouygues Telecom. The report also states that the DGCCRF will seek to have as many as 10 clauses from Apple's carrier contracts invalidated for running afoul of anti-trust laws.

Apple did not respond to a Reg request for comment on the matter.

This latest case adds to an already-long list of legal proceedings facing Apple in Europe. In addition to ongoing talks in the EU over its tax practices, Apple recently got word that regulators are going to investigate the licensing deals it has been making with record labels over a yet-to-be-announced streaming music service. ®

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