Italy’s regulatory watchdog hit American tech behemoths Amazon and Apple with
fines on Tuesday totaling more than $225 million for alleged anti-competitive
cooperation in the sale of Apple products.
The Italian Competition Authority said Tuesday that its investigation discovered a
2018 agreement between Amazon and Apple that blocked various resellers of Apple
and Beats products on Amazon.it, the marketplace’s Italian hub. Beats, an audio
manufacturer selling headphones, was acquired by Apple in 2014.
The Italian regulator imposed a fine of approximately $77 million, on Amazon, and
imposed a fine of approximately $151 million on Apple.
Amazon disputed the Italian Competition Authority’s actions and vowed to appeal.
“The proposed fine is disproportionate and unjustified,” Amazon said in a statement.
“We reject the ICA’s suggestion that Amazon benefits by excluding sellers from our
store, since our business model relies on their success.”
Amazon also argued that Italian customers can find the latest Apple and Beats
products through its store as its catalog has “more than doubled, with better deals
and faster shipping.”
Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Amazon and Apple are also facing antitrust action elsewhere around the world. After
the Italians’ investigation into the Amazon and Apple agreement, the Italian
Competition Authority said Germany and Spain have initiated their own proceedings,
according to the regulatory watchdog’s announcement on Tuesday.
In the United States, both Amazon and Apple are facing antitrust scrutiny from
policymakers. Sens. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, and Amy Klobuchar,
Minnesota Democrat, proposed a new bill earlier this month to give government
regulators stronger enforcement powers to block anti-competitive mergers and
acquisitions by giant tech firms such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.