Apple and Amazon's $170M Antitrust Fine Overturned by Italian Court

An administrative court in Italy today scrapped a €173.3 million ($170.4 million) fine leveled at Apple and Amazon last year for alleged anti-competitive cooperation when selling Apple and Beats products, Reuters reports.

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In November 2021, Italy's antitrust watchdog hit Apple and Amazon with a €200 million ($196 million) fine in the culmination of an investigation that began in 2020 over allegations that the two companies had been blocking the sale of Apple and Beats devices to resellers in order to stifle competition and keep prices high.

The regulator said contractual provisions of a 2018 agreement between the two companies meant only selected resellers were allowed to sell the products on Amazon's Italian store, which was in violation of EU rules and affected competition on prices.

Amazon was fined €68.7 million euros ($67.6 million), while Apple received a fine of €134.5 million ($132.3 million). The watchdog also ordered the companies to end the restrictions to give retailers of genuine Apple and Beats products access to the Italian Amazon web store in a "non-discriminatory manner."

Both Apple and Amazon appealed against the fines. "To ensure our customers purchase genuine products, we work closely with our reseller partners and have dedicated teams of experts around the world who work with law enforcement, customs and merchants to ensure only genuine Apple products are being sold," Apple said, denying any wrongdoing. In a separate statement Amazon said it strongly disagreed with the decision of the Italian authority and that the proposed fine was "disproportionate and unjustified."

Earlier this year, the fine was reduced to an overall €173.3 million ($170.4 million) due to a "material error" in the initial calculation. Amazon welcomed today's ruling in a statement, while Apple and Italy's antitrust regulator declined to comment.

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Top Rated Comments

kc9hzn Avatar
21 months ago
I do remember when this started that Apple was targeting the counterfeit market on Amazon. Remember, it had gotten to the point where you weren’t guaranteed a genuine Apple product even if it was shipped by Amazon. (It was especially bad with things like USB power bricks and the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle, I got bit by a counterfeit one of the latter from Amazon around that time.)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
21 months ago
Glad this was reversed since Apple and Amazon were trying to stop counterfeit products.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
avz Avatar
21 months ago
Is this the first sign of the end of the EU's "antitrust consensus"? Or the sign of the end of the EU itself?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jhfenton Avatar
21 months ago

I do remember when this started that Apple was targeting the counterfeit market on Amazon. Remember, it had gotten to the point where you weren’t guaranteed a genuine Apple product even if it was shipped by Amazon. (It was especially bad with things like USB power bricks and the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle, I got bit by a counterfeit one of the latter from Amazon around that time.)
It was bad. I received a pair of counterfeit EarPods from an Amazon purchase. The packaging was intended to mimic Apple's, but was not quite there, and the same for the headphones themselves. But they had fooled Amazon into stocking them in their "Fulfilled by Amazon" third-party seller program.

Edited: It was April 2014.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rpmurray Avatar
21 months ago

Amazon is a monster. I’ve had maybe 5% worth of bad experiences with them. Where something isn’t the brand I was buying and nowhere matches the description.
Back when I was younger and more naive I used to think that the reviews on Amazon for a product were for the product the reviews are under. Then I wised up and realized that Amazon mixes reviews for similar products and different sellers all in the same pot.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jimbobb24 Avatar
21 months ago

If you think Amazon makes any real effort to stop counterfeits then I've got a bridge to sell ya.? Put a tollbooth at both ends and y'all be raking in the dough in no time.

I've read hundreds of reviews on Amazon where customers were shipped counterfeits. That's only on the stuff I was interested in buying. They're are probably thousands or millions others who have been had despite Amazon's stringent?? anti-counterfeiting?? efforts.
It is both possible that amazon makes a real effort and that counterfeits get through. For example we make a real effort to stop crime but some crime still occurs.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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