French Reseller Suing Apple Over Unfair Competition
France’s largest Apple reseller, eBizcuss, is suing Apple claiming Apple’s retail stores have unfairly impacted resellers’ sales in the country.
According to the lawsuit Apple unfairly favors their own retail stores over resellers. Apple opened their first French retail store in 2009, and now has 16 stores nationwide. eBizcuss claims sales have fallen 30 percent in the last quarter alone because they were unable to secure enough iPads and Macbook Airs from Apple to meet demand. Perhaps most damning is the fact eBizcuss still has not received the iPhone 4S.
According to eBizcuss CEO Francois Prudent Apple is actively stealing valuable customers. Prudent claims Apple has lured a number of business customers away from eBizcuss with lower prices. Apple’s minimum criteria for resellers is also increasing according to Prudent who just invested $6.5 million in store improvements including a new point-of-sale system to meet Apple’s requirements.
American resellers levied a similar suit against Apple in 2004 when a group of five resellers sued Apple for unfair trade practices. Mac Accessory Center, MACadam Computers Inc., and a few others ended up settling with Apple. However, simply reaching a settlement for Prudent and other resellers in France might not be enough. Apple’s products generate many times more revenue than they did in 2004 and resellers most likely want to stay in business to take advantage of the Apple boom.