Apple and Amazon Face Antitrust Scrutiny in Germany Over 'Brandgating'

Apple and Amazon are set to face antitrust scrutiny in Germany over a policy that forbids independent sellers from retailing Apple products on Amazon, Bloomberg reports.

amazon

Germany's antitrust regulator, the Federal Cartel Office, has launched a probe into Apple and Amazon over the policy of "brandgating." The policy allows the makers of branded products, such as the iPhone, to have independent sellers removed from the retail platform, providing Amazon can sell the items instead.

"Brandgating agreements can help to protect against product piracy," the Cartel Office said in a statement. "But such measures must be proportionate to be in line with antitrust rules and may not result in eliminating competition."

Amazon responded, saying it never removes the sales permissions of sellers without sound reasons, and it invests heavily to protect customers from the illegal distribution of goods. The company has agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

The Cartel Office said that Apple is a "prominent" example of how Amazon conducts brandgating, which can purportedly take various forms. Amazon has only permitted Apple authorized vendors to sell Apple products on its platform since 2019. Amazon simultaneously became an Apple authorized vendor.

"The safety of our customers is our first priority, and our teams are constantly working with law enforcement, resellers, and e-commerce sites around the world to remove counterfeit products from the market," Apple said in a statement. "We work with Amazon to protect our customers from counterfeit products and provide confidence they are receiving a genuine Apple product out of the box."

The two companies have been investigated for similar accusations in the past, such as allegedly blocking the sale of Apple and Beats devices from resellers in order to stifle competition and fix prices.

Apple and Amazon are among the big tech companies under scrutiny around the world, particularly in the European Union, where a new Digital Services Act is poised to hit big tech with wide-reaching regulations.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

macduke Avatar
12 months ago
Amazon was notorious for years for selling fake Apple products. People were even getting injured by fake chargers that were catching on fire! And now they want to reverse that? Amazon still has problems with tons of fake products, fake reviews, existing product pages being purchased and swapped out for a completely different product to inflate reviews, etc. It's a mess. This was the one good thing they've done in recent years, probably because Apple was threatening to sue them because it makes them look terrible, and Germany wants to ruin it? Also not sure why Apple can't have authorized resellers. Lots of companies do this. I can't even get service on a camera unless I buy it from an authorized reseller most of the time.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Peepo Avatar
12 months ago
Why can’t Apple choose who it wants to sell their products and also control retail price? If this changes then coiuld see lots of sellers offering “branded” Apple accessories which are really fake knockoffs, and maybe even scalping hard to find Apple products eg. New iPhones that are hard to get.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dwaltwhit Avatar
12 months ago
I have to plead ignorance here: I read this article twice and I still don’t understand what brandgating is.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
centauratlas Avatar
12 months ago

Why can’t Apple choose who it wants to sell their products and also control retail price? If this changes then coiuld see lots of sellers offering “branded” Apple accessories which are really fake knockoffs, and maybe even scalping hard to find Apple products eg. New iPhones that are hard to get.
Exactly. What you will see next from the Germany government (as somewhat referenced in the article) is:

"why isn't Amazon doing more to stop counterfeit products? The people of Germany are purchasing what they think are iPhones (or whatever) and getting non-Apple pseudo clones."
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anthogag Avatar
12 months ago
It is looking like the big tech companies are forming cozy relationships left and right. The solution is simple...right in front of your nose...make Amazon go back to selling only books.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SirithX Avatar
12 months ago

I have to plead ignorance here: I read this article twice and I still don’t understand what brandgating is.
Know how you can go on Amazon and look up products and multiple 3rd party resellers are selling that product, but a lot of the time it's a knock off instead of the real thing? That's basically what they're trying to protect against, by stopping resellers in the event that the actual first party is able to sell the product to you directly.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tiktok logo

ByteDance Granted Seven-Day Extension of TikTok Sale

Thursday November 26, 2020 4:02 am PST by
TikTok owner ByteDance has been granted a seven-day extension on an order from the Trump Administration to sell the short-form video sharing platform (via Reuters). The administration had previously granted ByteDance a 15-day extension of the order issued in August, which was set to expire Friday. President Trump on August 14 directed ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days. According...
foxconn

Apple Supplier Foxconn to Build $270 Million Plant in Vietnam, Likely for MacBook and iPad

Monday January 18, 2021 7:32 am PST by
Apple supplier Foxconn has been granted a license to construct a new $270 million plant in Vietnam, likely to manufacture MacBooks and iPads (via Reuters). The new plant, to be developed by Fukang Technology, will be located in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Giang. Upon completion, the location is projected to be able to produce eight million laptops and tablets annually....
Apple TV Ray Light

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to Host Apple TV+ Docuseries 'Gutsy Women'

Thursday December 3, 2020 11:23 am PST by
Apple has given a straight-to-series order to "Gutsy Women," a docuseries that will be hosted and executive produced by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. The series is based on their book "The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience," and it will feature a diverse cast of trailblazing women. The world needs more change-makers. And I believe telling the ...
Apple TV Ray Light teal

Apple Picks Up 'Extrapolations' Series on Climate Change for Apple TV+

Wednesday December 9, 2020 2:16 pm PST by
"Extrapolations," an upcoming anthology series about climate change, is coming to Apple TV+, reports Variety. The series was created by Scott Z. Burns, who is writing, directing, and executive producing. The show will tell "intimate, unanticipated stories" about how changes to the planet will affect "love, faith, work, and family on a personal and human scale." The series will feature 10...
European Commisssion

Apple Reportedly on EU 'Hit List' of Big Tech Companies Targeted for Regulation

Monday October 12, 2020 7:39 am PDT by
EU regulators are taking aim at up to 20 big tech companies, including Apple, as part of a "hit list" that seeks to curb their market influence, reports The Financial Times. The plans reportedly involve the demand that larger tech companies face tougher regulations than smaller competitors, data sharing with rivals, and increased transparency on data gathering. The move is part of a wider...
Exposure Notifications W People and Text

Apple Releases iOS 12.5.1 With Exposure Notifications Bug Fix for Older iPhones

Monday January 11, 2021 10:18 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 12.5.1, an update that is available for older iPhones unable to install the iOS 14 update. The update features an Exposure Notifications bug fix. The iOS 12.5.1 update can be downloaded all on eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Apple in December released iOS 12.5 alongside iOS ...
ios7 safari icon

Apple and Other Browser Makers Ban Kazakhstan HTTPS Certificate Used to Surveil Citizens

Saturday December 19, 2020 1:38 am PST by
Apple has teamed up with Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla to block a web browser root certificate that was being used by the Kazakhstan government to surveil its citizens. The certificate allowed authorities to monitor people's online activity by intercepting and decrypting HTTPS traffic from residents in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan. Local ISPs were required to block foreign...
iphone trade in 202010 FMT WHH

iPhone Upgrade Program Temporarily Unavailable at Apple Stores in England Due to Lockdown Restrictions

Thursday November 5, 2020 6:26 am PST by
Apple today informed customers that its iPhone Upgrade Program is temporarily unavailable in England due to new COVID-19 lockdown restrictions that have gone into effect across the country starting today until December 2. In the United Kingdom, the iPhone Upgrade Program requires visiting an Apple Store, but England's lockdown restrictions have forced these retail locations to operate on a...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple's Global Security Chief Indicted in Scheme to Trade iPads for Gun Permits, but Apple Says It's Found No Wrongdoing

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:41 am PST by
Earlier this week, Apple's Chief Security Offier Thomas Moyer and others were charged in an expanding investigation involving the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office over exchanging bribes for concealed gun permits, reported the Morgan Hill Times. According to the investigation, Santa Clara County Undersheriff Rick Sung held back four concealed carry weapons permits for Apple's security team ...
japan FTC

Japan Preparing to Regulate Big Tech in Collaboration with U.S. and Europe

Monday October 19, 2020 7:45 am PDT by
Japan has followed the United States, Australia, and numerous countries around the world in preparing to heavily regulate big tech companies, including Apple, due to antitrust disputes and fears about market control (via Reuters). Japan is reportedly "laying the groundwork" to regulate big tech companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan's...