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Friday, December 3, 2021

Italy fines Apple and Amazon over Beats headphones


Italy’s competition watchdog has fined Amazon and Apple more than €200m (£168m) for allegedly flouting competition regulations.

The fine relates to Beats headphones, a brand purchased by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion (£1.8 billion at the time).

According to a 2018 agreement between the tech titans, only selected resellers would be able to sell the products on Amazon’s Italian website.

Both Apple and Amazon have stated that they intend to appeal the fines.

According to the Italian Competition Authority, the two companies’ actions also violated European Union rules and harmed pricing competition.

It ordered the two companies to remove the restrictions and provide resellers with access in a “non-discriminatory” manner.

‘Done nothing wrong’

Apple stated that it respected the decision of the watchdog, but that it “believes we have done nothing wrong.”

Apple claims that collaborating with carefully selected resellers improves customer safety by ensuring that products are genuine.

“Non-genuine products provide a subpar experience and are frequently dangerous,” said a spokesperson for the company.

“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 sold to ensure our customers purchase genuine products.”

Amazon stated that it strongly disagreed with the Italian authorities’ decision and that its share of the proposed fine (€68.7 million) was “disproportionate and unjustified.”

“We reject the suggestion that Amazon benefits from excluding sellers from our store, because our business model is dependent on their success,” a company spokesperson said.

According to the company, the agreement in question “more than doubled” the catalogue of products available to Italian customers, resulting in “better deals and faster shipping.”

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