The Italian Competition Authority is the Italian government’s agency for regulating business competition and overseeing possible conflicts of interest. As the Italian competition regulator, the Authority enforces both Italian and European consumer protection laws. Think of them as the Federal Trade Commission but for Italian laws.
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The Italian Competition Authority has fined Amazon and Apple a combined total of $228 million for unfairly limiting third-party Amazon resellers from selling Beats headphones. This fine comes after an antitrust investigation that shows both companies “signed an agreement in 2018 that would prohibit both official and unofficial resellers of Apple and Apple-owned Beats products on Amazon’s Italian website.”
The agreement between the two companies was said to contain language that allowed Amazon and its chosen sellers to sell Beats devices. The antitrust investigation goes on to say that the resellers were “chosen individually and in a discriminatory way.”
AGCM said in its announcement that those clauses violate article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In addition, the watchdog said the agreement restricted cross-border sales, ultimately limiting buyers’ options and depriving them of the discounts typically offered by third-party sellers. The Italian authority opened the antitrust case against both companies in 2020 and even searched their offices in the country.Engadget
Amazon did issue a comment on the case calling the penalty unjustified:
“We reject the 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.”Amazon
Apple also issued a statement and denied they did anything wrong:
“To ensure our customers purchase genuine products, we work closely with our reseller partners and have dedicated teams of experts around the world who work with law enforcement, customs and merchants to ensure only genuine Apple products are being sold.”
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Last Updated on November 23, 2021.