Apple and Amazon hit with multi-million dollar anti-competitive behavior fine

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Antitrust authorities in Italy have fined Apple and Amazon with combined penalties of more than €200 million for alleged anti-competitive behavior in relation to the sale of the former’s products.

The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) said the two firms colluded so that only selected resellers were allowed to sell Apple products, such as iPhones, iPad, and Apple Watch, and Beats headphones on Amazon’s Italian marketplace. The conclusion was that these practices were against EU competition law.

The AGCM has issued a €68.7 million fine to Amazon and a €134.5 million penalty to Apple and ordered them to end their practices and ensure that all resellers can access Amazon’s marketplace without discrimination.

Apple Amazon Italy

Both companies have rejected the allegations, and said they plan to appeal the fines. They argue that the practices helped by consumers by ensuring all products were genuine and subject to the appropriate level of customer service.

“We strongly disagree with the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) and we intend to appeal. The proposed fine is disproportionate and unjustified,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechRadar Pro.

“We reject the ICA’s suggestion that Amazon benefits by excluding sellers from our store, since our business model relies on their success. 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.”

The ICA’s ruling is the latest in a series of actions taken against major technology firms by European regulators seeking to correct that they consider to be anti-competitive behaviour in the sale and provision of both physical and digital goods and services. 

Google recently lost its antitrust battle with the EU, with the bloc’s General Court ruling the EC was right to fine the search giant €2.4 billion back in 2017 for alleged anti-competitive practices with its shopping results.

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.