This is not the first time that regulators in Europe have looked into the strict terms that Apple requires of its carrier partners -- Apple insists carriers guarantee sales of large numbers of iPhones and other factors that some say amount to anti-competitive behavior.
The inquiry is part of a larger investigation into the overall relationship between handset makers and some of their biggest clients, said the person familiar with the matter. "For operators, handsets have become one of the big expenses," the person said. "There is a balance of power that is shifting."Back in March, European regulators looked into the potential antitrust issues of Apple's contracts with carriers, but this new investigation is specifically from the French government, rather than the EU itself.
France is also looking into Apple's treatment of its third-party resellers as well as the behavior of Apple, Google and Amazon that prevent customers from moving purchased apps from one platform to another.