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French reseller sues Apple over unfair competition

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
eBizcuss, the largest Apple reseller in France, has sued Apple alleging that the company competes unfairly by favoring its own retail stores with new product inventory and by undercutting proposals to small businesses.

CEO François Prudent has claimed his business, which operates 16 locations throughout France, saw a 30 percent decline in the third quarter of 2011 due to reduced shipments of iPad 2 and MacBook Air units, Le Figaro reports (via ifoAppleStore). He also said that eBizcuss had been unable to obtain iPhone 4S supply during the fourth quarter.

The lawsuit alleges that the shortages began in November 2009 when Apple opened its first retail store in France at the Carousel del Louvre in Paris.

Prudent also complained about spending $6.5 million to meet Apple's strict requirements for resellers. "Since 2007, we revamped our point-of-sale system at the request of Apple to meet Apples criteria, he said.

Additionally, the lawsuit accuses Apple of poaching eBizcuss' business customers. "The proposals submitted to Apple commercial enterprises are lower than prices at which we buy the equipment, Prudent reportedly claimed.

The executive was, however, quick to point out that he has been an Apple supporter for many years, as he was one of the first importers of the Apple ][ computer in 1977.

Apple resellers the world over have struggled since the company stepped in to fill a gap in the retail distribution of its products more than ten years ago. Long-time Apple reseller MACadam went out of business in 2005 because of alleged "bad behavior" from Apple. In 2008, a reseller in Glasgow, Scotland closed its doors after being unable to compete with an official retail outlet that had opened in the city the year before.

As the Mac maker's retail business has seen continued success, the company has been targeted for legal action by disgruntled resellers. In 2003, three resellers, including MACadam, filed law suits against Apple alleging breach of contract and fraud. In 2005, several resellers banded together to file a class-action lawsuit against Apple, alleging the company had engaged in acts of unfair and unlawful business practices, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets.

Meanwhile, Apple has for years instructed its employees to remain neutral when speaking of resellers and service providers.

"Neutrally position the various channels through which customers can buy Apple products," the company's employee guidelines read. "They include retail stores, resellers, online Apple Stores, catalog resellers, web-based resellers, Apple telephone representatives, education channels, and government purchase programs."
post #2 of 83
I know this. The Mac Store in Oregon is absolutely one of the worst places to buy Mac's. If I had an Apple Store in my area I would go there and not go to "The MacStore".

So if people go to an Apple store over a non Apple Store then its because they may not like the Non Apple Store due to their business practices. There for the death of a bad retailer is necessary. Apple is not in the business of destroying businesses. It is in the business of selling products and selling them well.
An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #3 of 83
Frankly, I'm surprised Apple has allowed brick-n-mortar resellers for this long.

While I'm sure Apple resellers create a great retail experience... it just seems like Apple would want to be the ones to provide it.

Apple's all about controlling the message... they march to their own drum.

This also explains their tradeshow policy... they don't attend them anymore.
post #4 of 83
The problem is, Apple forced premium resellers to invest into Apple dictated store upgrades and now does not deliver products for those resellers to sell.
Have you ever tried to buy an iPhone or larger quantities of iPads at a reseller? They are constantly out of stock, and not because they have sold so much.
Wheareas you go to an Apple store and like a miracle, they have all the products and quantities you desire...
This to me sounds plain unfair and going for legal actions may make sense in this case.
post #5 of 83
Apple does not need France...
post #6 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchseb View Post

Apple does not need France...

Or, apple should BUY France.
post #7 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

Frankly, I'm surprised Apple has allowed brick-n-mortar resellers for this long.

While I'm sure Apple resellers create a great retail experience... it just seems like Apple would want to be the ones to provide it.

Apple's all about controlling the message... they march to their own drum.

This also explains their tradeshow policy... they don't attend them anymore.

maybe it's because apple (as a company) still isn't big enough to sell everything to costumers by themselves?

i'm portuguese and i wanted a mac.. buying it online (apple site) was out of the question because if something was wrong it would be too troublesome. there's no apple store in Portugal, so I bought online at fnac. we have 2 dozens of fnacstores. it helped that the 13 air ultimate was at the same as apple's (with student discount).

Look, apple only has a huge retail presence in the US. it will take a few years for them to grow that big.

Meanwhile, while we see football games (even the spanish ones) doing publicity to samsung and their products, the four open channels doind the same, you can bet that apple only sells because of retaillers. they still are very valuable.

you can go at any portuguese tech site and you will see that apple = evil, idevices= overpriced crap, icostumers = stupid sheep or productsluts. lol

retaillers are still needed.
post #8 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

I know this. The Mac Store in Oregon is absolutely one of the worst places to buy Mac's. If I had an Apple Store in my area I would go there and not go to "The MacStore".

So if people go to an Apple store over a non Apple Store then its because they may not like the Non Apple Store due to their business practices. There for the death of a bad retailer is necessary. Apple is not in the business of destroying businesses. It is in the business of selling products and selling them well.

Couldn't agree more. Going to the local Apple Store is what it is all about. The fact that the local Micro Center has a corner where you can purchase Apple products is all the more reason to go to the Apple Store. Rock On.
post #9 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchseb View Post

Apple does not need France...

Spot On

The French are just pissed because they want to control the "design" and Apple cleans their clock on Design.
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

eBizcuss, the largest Apple reseller in France, has sued Apple alleging that the company competes unfairly by favoring its own retail stores with new product inventory and by undercutting proposals to small businesses.

CEO François Prudent has claimed his business, which operates 16 locations throughout France, saw a 30 percent decline in the third quarter of 2011 due to reduced shipments of iPad 2 and MacBook Air units, Le Figaro reports (via ifoAppleStore). He also said that eBizcuss had been unable to obtain iPhone 4S supply during the fourth quarter.

The lawsuit alleges that the shortages began in November 2009 when Apple opened its first retail store in France at the Carousel del Louvre in Paris.

Prudent also complained about spending $6.5 million to meet Apple's strict requirements for resellers. "Since 2007, we revamped our point-of-sale system at the request of Apple to meet Apples criteria, he said.

Additionally, the lawsuit accuses Apple of poaching eBizcuss' business customers. "The proposals submitted to Apple commercial enterprises are lower than prices at which we buy the equipment, Prudent reportedly claimed.

The executive was, however, quick to point out that he has been an Apple supporter for many years, as he was one of the first importers of the Apple ][ computer in 1977.

Apple resellers the world over have struggled since the company stepped in to fill a gap in the retail distribution of its products more than ten years ago. Long-time Apple reseller MACadam went out of business in 2005 because of alleged "bad behavior" from Apple. In 2008, a reseller in Glasgow, Scotland closed its doors after being unable to compete with an official retail outlet that had opened in the city the year before.

As the Mac maker's retail business has seen continued success, the company has been targeted for legal action by disgruntled resellers. In 2003, three resellers, including MACadam, filed law suits against Apple alleging breach of contract and fraud. In 2005, several resellers banded together to file a class-action lawsuit against Apple, alleging the company had engaged in acts of unfair and unlawful business practices, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets.

Meanwhile, Apple has for years instructed its employees to remain neutral when speaking of resellers and service providers.

"Neutrally position the various channels through which customers can buy Apple products," the company's employee guidelines read. "They include retail stores, resellers, online Apple Stores, catalog resellers, web-based resellers, Apple telephone representatives, education channels, and government purchase programs."

I bet Steve would have a few choice words for the French and they would understand instantly what he said.
post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchseb View Post

Apple does not need France...

Spot On

The French are just pissed because they want to control the "design" and Apple cleans their clock on Design.
post #12 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

maybe it's because apple (as a company) still isn't big enough to sell everything to costumers by themselves?

i'm portuguese and i wanted a mac.. buying it online (apple site) was out of the question because if something was wrong it would be too troublesome. there's no apple store in Portugal, so I bought online at fnac. we have 2 dozens of fnacstores. it helped that the 13 air ultimate was at the same as apple's (with student discount).

Look, apple only has a huge retail presence in the US. it will take a few years for them to grow that big.

Meanwhile, while we see football games (even the spanish ones) doing publicity to samsung and their products, the four open channels doind the same, you can bet that apple only sells because of retaillers. they still are very valuable.

you can go at any portuguese tech site and you will see that apple = evil, idevices= overpriced crap, icostumers = stupid sheep or productsluts. lol

retaillers are still needed.

Consider visiting the new Madrid store when it opens up.
post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by TallistDah View Post

Consider visiting the new Madrid store when it opens up.

You did now Madrid is in Spain, not Portugal (different country, different language) ?
post #14 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by TallistDah View Post

Consider visiting the new Madrid store when it opens up.

for sure it would be a nice trip.

however i'm in portugal.. and i am a student. this means that my mom and my dad earns 450 each (per month).
so a trip to spain is out of question, for now.

i want an apple store here, in Porto.

where i study (FEUP) there's more and more macs/iphones/ipads. we deserve that store.
not only that, it would makes us much more confident when buying apple products.
post #15 of 83
To be fair, at least here in the UK there are quiet a few Premium Authorised Resellers and I can see their point.

Case in point, Cardiff, UK. In Cardiff that was a nice little Apple Store run by an authorised reseller, they had a similar layout to the official Apple Stores and their staff were both friendly and informative.

Apple released a large store in Cardiff and suddenly most of their business dried up, they have now closed shop and moved elsewhere.

I can see both points of view, Apple is a business and will continue to roll out their own stores across the globe.

Sadly they are going to crush those stores that served as an efficient outlet for them before they arrived on the scene.
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post #16 of 83
Some of you guys are defensive Apple fanboys that make it uncool to like Apple gear.

Quote:
Apple does not need France.

I mean, what's wrong with you.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

maybe it's because apple (as a company) still isn't big enough to sell everything to costumers by themselves?

i'm portuguese and i wanted a mac.. buying it online (apple site) was out of the question because if something was wrong it would be too troublesome. there's no apple store in Portugal, so I bought online at fnac. we have 2 dozens of fnacstores. it helped that the 13 air ultimate was at the same as apple's (with student discount).

Look, apple only has a huge retail presence in the US. it will take a few years for them to grow that big.

Meanwhile, while we see football games (even the spanish ones) doing publicity to samsung and their products, the four open channels doind the same, you can bet that apple only sells because of retaillers. they still are very valuable.

you can go at any portuguese tech site and you will see that apple = evil, idevices= overpriced crap, icostumers = stupid sheep or productsluts. lol

retaillers are still needed.

Ah... good point
post #18 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Some of you guys are defensive Apple fanboys that make it uncool to like Apple gear.



I mean, what's wrong with you.

Lighten up - this is a rumor site! This is called "joking around" and "light-hearted banter".
-JD
-- "If Apple wasn't so greedy, they would build G6's and give them away!"
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-JD
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post #19 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

for sure it would be a nice trip.

however i'm in portugal.. and i am a student. this means that my mom and my dad earns 450 each (per month).
so a trip to spain is out of question, for now.

i want an apple store here, in Porto.

where i study (FEUP) there's more and more macs/iphones/ipads. we deserve that store.
not only that, it would makes us much more confident when buying apple products.

Be a little enterprising and call Tim cook up and tell him what the situation is , and tell him you would like to open their store in Portugal. They need people like you to do it. Do it the way Steve jobs would.
post #20 of 83
If Apple doesn't want resellers, or a particular reseller, this is their right. But if they do authorize resellers, and those resellers are meeting Apple's guidelines, then Apple should provide them reasonable appropriate access to their products.

Likely, Apple has, and has some formula that determines allocation based on revenue, square footage, etc... - the reseller in question simply may not like the methodology or is questioning the fairness.

Apple reseller agreements are highly detailed, but if there is/are some unfair trade practice(s0 contained in them, governing local laws would supersede the agreement.

No matter how well run a reseller is however, its nearly impossible to compete with Apple selling their hardware - the margins are too thin, and Apple can offer staffing/support options/exchanges that would break the bank of an independent. Their focus needs to be on high quality training, extended (on-site) support, small business focus, third party product expertise, etc...
post #21 of 83
Well really. Who says they have to give the phone to resellers in the first place? They invented it, it's theirs to do with as they please. Shut up and be grateful you silly old frog.
post #22 of 83
The consistent "Everything Apple does is the right, fair and best thing possible" attitude here is both ridiculous and hilarious. At least it gives me something to chuckle about in the morning.
post #23 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

Frankly, I'm surprised Apple has allowed brick-n-mortar resellers for this long.

You are aware that Apple didnt always had brick-n-mortar stores right? Its not the first time I ear about Apple Stores keeping all the inventories for themselves. It did headlines here in Montreal at the ipad 1 launch. It did improved for the ipad 2 and iphone 4s. Apple need those resellers it cant handle all the retail sales everywhere.
post #24 of 83
I have mixed feelings regarding dealerships, here have been good ones and bad ones over the years but no one can deny the success of Apple's own stores and they have in a large part been key in Apple's change of fortunes. The drive to consumer based products has made this all the more necessary. There used to be a need for high end specialists, my company used to sell high end publishing systems to magazines and newspapers and had to carry various makes of digital postscript driven typesetters and all sorts of expensive and specialized equipment such as drum scanners... and know how to use them. Those days are long gone with even the high end video editing studious being offered a simplistic product now. So Apple Stores are all Apple need.

BTW... We already know a computer had to be called l'ordinateur in France.... I have been waiting the ruling by 'Le Ministry' to force Apple to trade under the name "La Pomme"
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

If Apple doesn't want resellers, or a particular reseller, this is their right. But if they do authorize resellers, and those resellers are meeting Apple's guidelines, then Apple should provide them reasonable appropriate access to their products.

Likely, Apple has, and has some formula that determines allocation based on revenue, square footage, etc... - the reseller in question simply may not like the methodology or is questioning the fairness.

Apple reseller agreements are highly detailed, but if there is/are some unfair trade practice(s0 contained in them, governing local laws would supersede the agreement.

No matter how well run a reseller is however, its nearly impossible to compete with Apple selling their hardware - the margins are too thin, and Apple can offer staffing/support options/exchanges that would break the bank of an independent. Their focus needs to be on high quality training, extended (on-site) support, small business focus, third party product expertise, etc...

Very well said, sadly your last paragraph discusses an almost extinct breed now. How many value added areas are left these days? It is sad, they were fun times and lucrative for those of us in those areas but Apple itself was always struggling during those days we should not forget. Examples are still there, such as Microspot in the UK who were always involved in specialist areas such as CAD and plotter drivers and had excellent management but there are precious few like that left.
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #26 of 83
Apple is currently in a position, where it can deal with many Retailers the way it wants.
They have all the assets and the retailers are more and more forced in a corner.

One thing they should consider however is, what if, in the future, Apple isn't doing so well? Say, in 15 years Apple had to close many stores, they need to compete on more places and so forth.
At that point, they would again need the retailers to survive. If the retailers however look back at the past and see how Apple threated retailers before, why should they invest in Apple anymore?

This is of course pure speculation, but Apple WILL struggle one day. Maybe not soon, but its inevitable to happen at some point in the future.

Instead of crippling those who helped Apple in the bad days, they should at least sustain a healthy relationship.
post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

You are aware that Apple didnt always had brick-n-mortar stores right? Its not the first time I ear about Apple Stores keeping all the inventories for themselves. It did headlines here in Montreal at the ipad 1 launch. It did improved for the ipad 2 and iphone 4s. Apple need those resellers it cant handle all the retail sales everywhere.

People are being ridiculous. Of course Apple is going to stock its own stores first and then everyone else will get the overflow. Duhhh! Common sense would tell these resellers that. They should be thankful Apple is allowing them to sell and make a profit off of their products at all.

It's not logical to expect anything else. If they don't like the agreement, well they don't have to sell Apple's products. Apple is basically giving up their profits so these resellers can sell....and who knows what other items they sell because people know they are resellers just from stocking the apple stuff in their stores at all.

Apple is selling their products as fast as they can make them. The retailers need to be patient. I think it's just something else to gripe about. If Apple wasn't making any money and there was no demand the retailers simply wouldn't be complaining.
post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

They should be thankful Apple is allowing them to sell and make a profit off of their products at all.

Actually with margins well below 10%, the retailers don't make a profit off the products. They make profit (if at all) from support and teaching
post #29 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchseb View Post

Apple does not need France...

Who does Apple need?
post #30 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mausz View Post

You did now Madrid is in Spain, not Portugal (different country, different language) ?

Why doesn't Portugal just simply become part of Spain? Its kind of like Delaware and Maryland. What's the point?
post #31 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Sadly they are going to crush those stores that served as an efficient outlet for them before they arrived on the scene.

Nothing sad about it.

Apple is a business. Business is business.

Apple makes a full-boat retailer's profit when they sell direct. When they sell to a reseller, they only make a wholesaler's profit. The reseller gets to keep a lot of Apple's money. Apple makes MUCH more money when people buy direct.

The reseller's are siphoning off Apple's profits! Apple makes the most money when every customer buys direct. Screw the resellers. They are nothing but parasites.
post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

where i study (FEUP) there's more and more macs/iphones/ipads. we deserve that store.
not only that, it would makes us much more confident when buying apple products.

And there is the rub. In your original post you indicated Apple needs the resellers... But now you say (effectively) that the resellers need Apple retail as well.

I am similarly torn. I am getting sick of the Apple Stores-- they are too crowded, and it is the worst place to buy new products. The last two iPhones I bought were at AT&T stores, despite how much I can't stand them.

If Apple put a flagship store in Lisbon, would that solve your concern in Porto... Or would they need one in Porto and one in Faro to round things out? Three or four stores would wipe out all the resellers in the country.
post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post


They should be thankful Apple is allowing them to sell and make a profit off of their products at all.



But are they? Noooo.......

All they do is whine.

Apple needs to punish these guys so bad that they beg for Apple to stop. Then maybe they will have sufficient gratitude towards Apple.
post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

Of course Apple is going to stock its own stores first and then everyone else will get the overflow.

Proper procedure though is to stock based on sell-through. Stocking company stores first as a policy *is* discriminatory.
post #35 of 83
Apple is in business for one reason. To make money. Anything they can legally do to maximize profits, they will do. If disadvantaging resellers achieves this, they will have no compunctions about doing so.

Jobs was smart. Sell a good, proprietary product at a premium price, and you can do quite well in the long term, thank you very much. Cutting out resellers just rakes in more margin for the big A.
post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Proper procedure though is to stock based on sell-through. Stocking company stores first as a policy *is* discriminatory.

I'm sure it's based on sell through. The average apple store sells way more Apple stuff and Apple doesn't have to give up any of the profits. But I'm sure Tim Cook takes into consideration the sell-through rates. He didn't get to where he is by being stupid. Apple sells out of their hottest products very quickly.

This whole thing is just something else to gripe at apple about. Why be only a mac reseller? I know the resellers here in NYC sell PC stuff too. They don't just sell MAC stuff. You can't be dedicated to one thing when you are simply a reseller.
post #37 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Who does Apple need?



Apple is a rock. Apple is an island.
post #38 of 83
I'm torn with which smartass comment to got with?

It is the French, I'm surprised they just didn't surrender.

or

So it is wrong for Farmers to feed their family before they sell to others? Odd.
post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

And there is the rub. In your original post you indicated Apple needs the resellers... But now you say (effectively) that the resellers need Apple retail as well.

I am similarly torn. I am getting sick of the Apple Stores-- they are too crowded, and it is the worst place to buy new products. The last two iPhones I bought were at AT&T stores, despite how much I can't stand them.

If Apple put a flagship store in Lisbon, would that solve your concern in Porto... Or would they need one in Porto and one in Faro to round things out? Three or four stores would wipe out all the resellers in the country.

one store in Lisbon would be great, really..

However one in Porto would be really close to the UP (especially FEUP) and UM (especially their guimaraes buildinds).
Both FEUP (first) and UM engineering are the best engineering schools in the country (you can also speak about ISEP) and both have the potential to be apple's biggest portuguese clients (well, their students).

it has much more advantages building one apple store in porto.

Not to mention the fact that the north has more population.

But i know that Portugal is a small country and generally people don't have the € needed to buy apple products BUT:

- there's no middle terms here. there's people who are really poor and the others that live really good. those will buy apple products.

-Portuguese people are funny. once they realize that apple products provide some "status", they will buy them even if they have to stop eating

2 or 3 apple stores would destroy the resellers, but one? it would be so much better. Even if no one was buying anything from apple (they will), they would feel safer. i had that dogma when i bought my 1700€ air. what if something was wrong??? would i have to wait 2 or 3 months for a fix that could never be perfect?

People in the states are lucky. here, not so much.

it can be painfull (not really... let's not overreact) to see all those galaxy tabs and galaxy note in all channels, games, etc and people praising samesung against the bad fruit (sarcasm) simply because we (the country) don't know/trust apple.

Portuguese people trusts their fridges, samesung fridges..

so they will buy samsung. all of my girlfriend's family have samesung "smart"phones.

and iphone 4s here costs 650€.
the galaxy s2 450€.
we earn 450.

the galaxy get's much more publicity than the iphone...
the average people don't know why an iphone is better even if it looks better.

can you blame them for buying samesung?
can you blame me to use an android phone (x10 mini pro)?
i "can't" buy an iphone. maybe a ipod touch in the future.
post #40 of 83
Of course Apple is going to favor its own stores. They make more money that way. Third party retailers have their place where there isn't enough traffic for an official Apple Store. In addition, kiosks/sections at Best Buy etc may persuade potential Windows buyers into considering a Mac/iPad.

In any case, if the third party retailer wants a lot of product, put down the $$$ to get it. Just like Apple drops $$$ on the supply chain side.
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