The Italian antitrust authority has fined U.S. tech giants Amazon.com and Apple Inc. a combined sum of almost 200 million euros ($225 million) for suspected anti-competitive coordination in the selling of Apple and Beats products.
Amazon was fined €68.7 million and Apple €134.5 million, although both companies have said they will be appealing the fines imposed by the Italian government,
According to the Italian government, this resulted in less pricing competition and a reduction in the extent of third-party discounts. Such agreements are in violation of EU regulations (Article 101).
In addition to the penalties, the Italian government has ordered the businesses to remove the limitations on access to Amazon for merchants of authentic Apple and Beats items. It also mandated that it should be done in a non-discriminatory manner.
“We work closely with our reseller partners to guarantee our consumers purchase authentic items, and we have dedicated teams of specialists throughout the world who engage with law enforcement, customs, and merchants to ensure only genuine Apple products are sold,” Apple stated while denying any wrongdoing.
The confusion comes from a 2018 deal between Amazon and Apple that limited the sale of Apple and Beats items on Amazon Italy to Amazon and a few authorized merchants. Additionally, cross-border sales were subject to restrictions.
In its second statement by Amazon stated that it strongly disagrees with the Italian authorities’ decision and that the proposed fine is “disproportionate and unwarranted.”
“We reject the notion that Amazon profits from our store’s exclusion of merchants because our business model is based on their success.
Moreover, as a consequence of the arrangement, Italian customers will be able to find the latest Apple and Beats goods on our website, with a catalogue that has more than quadrupled, better pricing, and faster shipping.