Italian authorities fine Amazon and Apple €203 million over alleged reseller discrimination
Italy’s authority stated that the alleged collusion decreased the level of discounts available to customers buying Apple and Beats products on Amazon.it.
It has also instructed that Amazon and Apple end restrictions on resellers.
According to AGCM, its inquiry found an agreement, signed in October 2018, between the two companies that restricted “legitimate” resellers of Beats products on Amazon.it.
AGCM found that Amazon limited the sale of Apple and Beats products on Amazon itself, and also restricted the number of resellers – who were “chosen individually and in a discriminatory way”.
The agreement violates Art. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
In its release AGCM said: “The investigation established the intention to introduce a purely quantitative restriction on the number of retailers, allowing only Amazon and certain subjects, identified in a discriminatory way, to operate on Amazon.it.”
“The terms of the agreement also restricted cross-border sales, as retailers were discriminated against on a geographic basis. The restrictions of the agreement have affected the level of discounts offered by third parties on Amazon.it, decreasing their size.”
The authority stressed that Amazon’s local marketplace makes for 70% of purchases of consumer electronic kit in the country, of which “at least 40% are represented by retailers who use Amazon as a brokerage platform.”
Adding that, “it therefore appears essential that the application of competition rules ensure an equal playing field for all retailers who use online marketplaces as an increasingly important place for carrying out their commercial activity, especially in today’s context, avoiding the implementation of discriminatory behaviours that restrict competition.”
“In this perspective, the Authority’s decision recognizes, in line with the jurisprudence of the EU Court of Justice, the need for distribution systems, in order to be compatible with competition rules, to be based on qualitative criteria, not discriminatory and applied equally to all potential resellers.”
Further, the Italian authority said that following its own prove into the Amazon-Apple agreement, German and Spanish authorities are now launching their own investigations.
Amazon has since released a statement saying that it is appealing the proposed fine, and that the current agreement was good for consumers.
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