Italian watchdog hands Amazon and Apple €203 million fine for restricting resellers

Following an investigation by Italy’s antitrust authority, L’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), Amazon and Apple have been handed a fine of €203 million for colluding on restricting resellers when it comes to Beats hardware.

The investigation specifically cites an agreement between the two signed in 2018, which ultimately limits the ability of resellers to sell legal Beats products on the Italian Amazon marketplace.

The fine is not split directly down the middle for each organisation, with Amazon fined €134.5 million and Apple fined €68.7 million.

Said restrictions are believed to have limited the amount of discounts which were made available on the Italian version of Amazon, and now the AGCM has instructed both parties to remove the restrictions on top of paying the fine.

“The Competition and Market Authority concluded, on November 16, 2021, the investigation launched against the companies of the Apple Inc. and Inc. groups regarding the restrictions on access to the marketplace by of legitimate resellers of ‘genuine’ Apple and Beats branded products,” the AGCM said in a Google-translated press statement.

“The restrictiveness of these conducts appears confirmed by the fact that represents the place of electronic commerce where at least 70% of purchases of consumer electronics products in Italy are made, of which at least 40% are represented by retailers who use Amazon. as a brokerage platform,” it adds.

It remains to be seen whether Amazon and Apple will acquiesce to the findings of the AGCM, but if it does, they could both be in for more fines as the Italian watchdog notes that organisations in Germany and Spain have opened up similar probes.

Either way, the EU’s stance when it comes to the antitrust behaviour of big tech firms, shows no signs of easing any time soon.



[Image – Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash]


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