Apple's French offices have reportedly been raided by investigators from the country's antitrust watchdog, as part of an investigation into Apple's treatment of its resellers.

Apple Store at Opéra, Paris

French newspaper Les Echos reports that the France's Autorite de la Concurrence carried out a 24-hour raid of Apple's French headquarters, wholesalers and retailers last week to investigate whether Apple offers better deals in its own retail stores at the disadvantage of third-party Apple resellers.

The issue first came to light last year, when Apple retailer eBizcuss was forced to close its fifteen French stores after going bankrupt. The company said that Apple had abused its dominance and economic dependence, and had caused eBizcuss "unfair competition."

Following the report, a spokesperson for the authority confirmed that Apple is under investigation, but declined to say which distributors were raided, nor why Apple and its distributors were under investigation.

The spokesperson also noted that the authority does not usually comment on investigations in progress, but commented in this instance after learning that local media had received notice of the investigation by other channels, and asked about the raids directly. He said that the investigation could take around 18 months, after which time the authority will choose whether or not to take action.

Apple has not yet commented on the matter.

[Via MarketWatch and Computerworld]

Updated to include confirmation from Autorite de la Concurrence spokesperson on Wednesday 3 July.

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