The Autorité de la Concurrence, the French competition watchdog, has raided the offices of Apple in France. The exact reason for the raid is not known, but analysts see two options: the complaint chain eBizcuss filed a while ago or the discount fraud that was recently discovered at a number of official resellers of Apple.
The chain eBizcuss has filed a complaint against Apple in France quite some time ago. It was an official reseller of Apple, but the chain felt left behind by the company behind the iPad and the iPhone. New models were only made available for sale sparsely, while the own stores of Apple were always fully stocked. In the meantime the chain completely lost the battle for customers, because it went bankrupt in the summer of 2012.
There have also been complaints about Apple in other countries, for example in the Netherlands. When the iPhone 5 launched it was not available at any Apple Premium Reseller. At the launch of the iPhone 4S it had been the same story.
Fraud with discounts
There is also another investigation ongoing in France, looking into possible discount fraud at resellers of Apple. They are said to have used the discounts to increase profit margins and not to lower prices for customers.
This would explain why the French also raided the two largest distributors of Apple, Tech Data and Ingram Micro. Those two companies distribute the products of Apple to their resellers and they also handle the discounts. Their involvement in the investigation was confirmed by British technology website The Inquirer.