What you need to know
- Apple and Amazon have been fined by an Italian antitrust authority.
- It's over claims they put in place restrictions to stop some people selling Beats and Apple products on Amazon's marketplace.
- The pair were fined over $200M collectively.
Both Apple and Amazon have been fined by Italy's AGCM antitrust body, over claims they colluded to stop some retailers selling genuine Beats and Apple products on Amazon.it.
On Tuesday the body stated:
On November 16, 2021, the Italian Competition Authority concluded the investigation launched against the companies of the Apple Inc. groups. and Amazon.com Inc. regarding restrictions on access to the marketplace Amazon.it by legitimate resellers of "genuine" Apple and Beats branded products.
The investigation made it possible to ascertain that certain contractual clauses of an agreement signed on October 31, 2018 – which prohibited official and unofficial retailers of Apple and Beats products from using Amazon.it, allowing the sale of Apple and Beats products in that marketplace only to Amazon and to certain subjects chosen individually and in a discriminatory manner – violate art. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The release states that the investigation "established the intention to introduce a purely quantitative restriction on the number of retailers, allowing only Amazon and certain subjects, identified in a discriminatory manner, to operate on Amazon.it." The AGCM says this also limited cross-border sales because it discriminated on a geographical basis. The body says the restrictiveness of the conduct appeared to be confirmed by the fact 70% of electronics are bought in the country.
Apple was fined 134.5 million euros ($151M), and Amazon was fined 68.7 million euros. Both were ordered to end the restrictions, letting other companies sell "genuine" Apple and Beats products in a non-discriminatory manner. The news won't have any impact on the Black Friday sales but could see more outlets and retailers apparently offering products in Italy through Amazon in the future.
In a statement to Reuters Apple said "To ensure our customers purchase genuine products, we work closely with our reseller partners and have dedicated teams of experts around the world who work with law enforcement, customs and merchants to ensure only genuine Apple products are being sold." It also said it plans to appeal against the fine.