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).
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.