200 million fine for Amazon and Apple: illegal restrictions on access to the Amazon.it marketplace
Amazon and Apple end up in the crosshairs of theAntitrust: the Italian Competition Authority has sanctioned for more than 200 million euros overall the companies of the Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. groups. The two companies were sanctioned for having put in place a restrictive agreement that did not allow all legitimate resellers of “genuine” Apple and Beats products to operate on the marketplace amazon.it.
L’Antitrust concluded, on November 16, 2021, the investigation launched against the two companies regarding the restrictions on access to the Amazon.it marketplace by legitimate retailers of “genuine” Apple and Beats branded products. The investigation – explains a note – made it possible to ascertain that certain contractual clauses of a agreement signed on 31 October 2018 – which prohibited official and unofficial resellers of Apple and Beats products from using Amazon.it, allowing the sale of Apple and Beats products in this marketplace only to Amazon and certain individuals chosen individually and in a discriminatory manner – violate art. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
In fact, in the preliminary investigation, the Authority writes, “the will to introduce one purely quantitative restriction on the number of resellers, allowing only Amazon and certain individuals, identified in a discriminatory way, to operate on Amazon.it. The clauses of the agreement also restricted cross-border sales, as one took place discrimination of retailers on a geographical basis. The restrictions of the agreement have affected the level of discounts offered by third parties on Amazon.it, decreasing their size “.
Amazon-Apple fine, EU competition rules essential
The restrictiveness of such conduct appears confirmed by the circumstance that Amazon.co.uk 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 an intermediary platform. It therefore appears essential that the application of the competition rules ensure a level playing field for all resellers who use marketplaces as an increasingly important place for carrying out their commercial activity, especially in today’s context, avoiding the creation of discriminatory behaviors that restrict competition.
In this perspective, the Authority’s decision recognizes, in line with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, the the need for distribution systems to be based on qualitative criteria in order to be compatible with competition rules, non-discriminatory and applied equally to all potential resellers. The Authority was the leader in this action and, thanks to its intervention and collaboration, the national competition authorities of Germany and Spain subsequently initiated similar proceedings.
The Authority then issued a € 68.7 million fine to Amazon group companies and a € 134.5 million fine to Apple group companies and ordered those companies to end the restrictions by allowing Amazon.co.uk to resellers of “genuine” Apple and Beats products in a non-discriminatory manner.
Antitrust, Apple’s response
In the meantime, Apple is preparing to appeal against the Antitrust sanction because believes that he has done “nothing wrong”. The Italian Antitrust Authority has fined the companies of the Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc groups for a total of more than 200 million euros, for having put in place a restrictive agreement that did not allow all legitimate resellers of Apple products and “genuine” Beats to operate on the amazon.it marketplace.
Antitrust, Amazon’s response
After Apple, too Amazon is preparing to appeal against the Antitrust sanction which it considers “disproportionate” and “unjustified”. The decision of the e-commerce giant comes after the similar one announced by the Cupertino company. The Competition and Market Authority fined the two companies for a total of over 200 million euros for having put in place a restrictive agreement that did not allow all legitimate resellers of “genuine” Apple and Beats products to operate on the marketplace amazon.it.
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