Italy’s antitrust authority has fined both Apple and Amazon for a total of over 200 million euros ($225 million) for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive practices in the sale of Apple and Beats products on Amazon’s platform, and flouting competition regulations. While Amazon has been fined €68.7 million, Apple has been fined €134.5 million.
According to contractual provisions of an agreement between the two companies, only selected resellers were allowed to sell Apple and Beats (which Apple had bought for over $3 billion in 2014) products on Amazon.it, Amazon’s e-commerce marketplace in Italy, and all other resellers of Apple and Beats products was prohibited from using Amazon.it.
The regulator slapped a fine on both Amazon and Apple, saying that these provisions violated Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, affected competition on prices, and reduced the size of discounts offered by third parties on Apple and Beats products on the platform. Additionally, there were restrictions placed on cross-border sales.
Amazon.it is a market leader in the country with a share of nearly 70% when it comes to the purchases of consumer electronic kits in Italy. Amazon denied that this dominance existed, saying that Amazon.it represented less than 1% of the global retail market and that there were larger retailers in every country in which the e-commerce behemoth is present.
Now, both companies must not only pay the fine but also let any retailer of genuine Apple and Beats products access to Amazon.it in a non-discriminatory manner. Neither company has been happy with the decision, saying that they plan to appeal against the fines.
Amazon said that it disagreed with the decision and that the fine was an unjustified and disproportionate one. “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 catalog that more than doubled, with better deals and faster shipping,” it said.
As for Apple, the iPhone maker said that it worked hard to create the “best products in the world with a great user experience. For the safety of our customers and the integrity of the products they buy, it’s important they know they’re purchasing genuine products. Non-genuine products deliver an inferior experience and can often be dangerous.”