French reseller sues Apple over unfair competition

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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 Apple?s 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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 82
    Apple does not need France...
  • Reply 5 of 82
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,022member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frenchseb View Post


    Apple does not need France...



    Or, apple should BUY France.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    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 Apple?s 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.
  • Reply 10 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 82
    mauszmausz Posts: 243member
    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) ?
  • Reply 13 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 82
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,140member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    irelandireland Posts: 17,653member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 82
    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
  • Reply 17 of 82
    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".
  • Reply 18 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 82
    thrangthrang Posts: 768member
    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...
  • Reply 20 of 82
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    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.
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