Apple and Amazon Under Investigation By Italian Watchdog for Alleged Price Fixing

Apple and Amazon are under investigation by Italy's antitrust regulator over allegations that the two companies have been blocking the sale of Apple and Beats devices to resellers in order to stifle competition (via Reuters).

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The L'Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) is looking into the allegation, which has been made by legal but unauthorized resellers who could theoretically sell the hardware at a discounted price.

In a press release (translated) today spotted by setteBIT, the ACGM said it was investigating Apple and Amazon for alleged contravention of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The purpose of the investigation is to ascertain whether Apple and Amazon have implemented a restrictive agreement to prohibit the sale of Apple and Beats branded products by electronics resellers not participating in Apple's official program, who legitimately purchase products from wholesalers and then resell them to retailers.

In the Authority's view, the agreement to exclude certain parties from the marketplace appears to have the potential to reduce competition by raising barriers to the outlet of online sales markets to the detriment of unofficial resellers, which are usually small and medium-sized enterprises that sell on the web using marketplace services.

The AGCM did not say how long the investigation would take, but did acknowledge that officials carried out inspections at the local offices of both companies this week. Apple has yet to comment on the matter.

This isn't the first AGCM investigation into Apple. A previous probe looked into the company for iPhone battery slowdowns, which the antitrust watchdog said was a form of planned obsolescence and subsequently slapped Apple with a 10 million euro fine.

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Top Rated Comments

AustinIllini Avatar
52 months ago
I just have to admire how every Italian government organization sounds like the name of a famous painting.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
52 months ago
Suppose this type of investigation is the cost of doing business in the EU.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dumastudetto Avatar
52 months ago
Another government wanting a slice of Apple's considerable pie. Innovation killers the lot of them.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bsamcash Avatar
52 months ago
It’s silly that companies can’t charge what they want to charge for their own products.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
damphoose Avatar
52 months ago
Back in the day when Sony was a big deal...they use to do this. It was really difficult to become an authorized seller. There were certain requirements you had to meet including volume. So some retailers would buy from distributors. Legally Sony could not stop the distribution but they would “strongly encourage“ distributors not to sell to certain retailers. It was an ego driven cat and mouse that ultimately was counterproductive. I am surprised Apple and/or Amazon would bother with something like this
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rigido Avatar
52 months ago

the marketplace on Amazon is open for „anyone“ to sell their items, even beating Amazon on the price but with Apple products, the same practice is not allowed, therefore keeping the price always „high“ with no competitors able to sell the same item for less.
That's the point!
Here in Europe we pay Apple products 30% more than US (i.e. iPhone 11 Max, 512GB, SIM Free US=$1449 IT=€1689=$1933), some good and legal competition would be welcome.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)