Apple and Amazon fined €203m by Italy’s antitrust authority

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The competition authority said an agreement by Apple and Amazon had restricted certain Apple resellers on Amazon.it.

Apple and Amazon have been fined more than €200m by the antitrust authority in Italy for allegedly hindering competition in the sale of Apple and Beats products on Amazon’s Italian website.

A 2018 agreement between Apple and Amazon restricted access for selected legitimate resellers of genuine Apple and Beats (also owned by Apple) products on Amazon.it, according Italy’s competition watchdog.

It claimed that the agreement put Apple and Amazon in violation European Union rules for allowing the sale of Apple and Beats products “in a discriminatory way”.

The authority fined Apple €134.5m and Amazon €68.7m, and ordered the companies to end the restrictions to give retailers of genuine Apple and Beats products access to Amazon.it.

Both Apple and Amazon plan to appeal against the fines.

“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,” Apple said in a statement given to Reuters.

Amazon also called the fine “disproportionate and unjustified” and rejected the suggestion that it benefits from excluding resellers of Apple and Beats products from its marketplace because its business model relies on the success of resellers.

“As a result of the agreement, Italian customers can find the latest Apple and Beats products on our store, benefiting from a catalogue that more than doubled, with better deals and faster shipping,” Amazon told Reuters.

The Italian antitrust body said that the terms of the agreement also restricted cross-border sales by discriminating against retailers on the basis on their location, leading to a decrease in the ability of third parties to offer discounts on their products.

“It therefore appears essential that the application of competition rules ensure a level playing field for all retailers who use marketplaces as an increasingly important place for carrying out their commercial activity,” the Italian authority said in a statement.

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