After a competition procedure initiated by the Italian Republic against the e-commerce giant Amazon and the iPhone group Apple in the summer of 2020, both parties now have to pay a heavy fine for possible sales agreements and inadmissible exclusive contracts. This has been decided by the competent antitrust authority, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM for short.
Amazon.it should become non-discriminatory
According to the decision, a total of over 200 million euros will have to be paid. The lion’s share falls with 134.5 million on Apple, Amazon is to pay 68.7 million euros. In addition, the companies have to lift restrictions on third-party providers so that they can grumble “in a non-discriminatory way” on products from Apple and its audio subsidiary Beats and sell them on the Italian Amazon site (Amazon.it).
The AGCM initially looked primarily at Beats products, but then went on to review sales of regular Apple hardware. According to the competition watchdog, it could be that Apple and Amazon maintain a “competition-impairing cooperation”. It is said to have come to forbidden agreements, which meant that other electronics retailers who are not listed in Apple’s official sales program were simply not allowed to sell their products on the marketplace.
Apple: It’s about avoiding counterfeiting
Apple said in a statement that they saw no wrongdoing on their part and that the penalty would be appealed. There was initially no comment from Amazon. According to Apple, the main focus of working with the e-commerce giant is avoiding selling counterfeits. They work closely with their reseller partners to ensure that “customers buy real products”. There are “teams of experts all over the world” who also work with law enforcement authorities, customs and dealers.
Amazon and Apple have only officially been working together since 2018. Previously, Amazon was not an official Apple retail channel and products only came from third parties. However, there are now special requirements for retailers who officially want to offer Apple products on Amazon. This even had an impact – initially in the USA – on sales of used products, because Apple only allowed their dealers to make an offer on Amazon if they achieved certain sales figures.