Italian Govt Slaps $230 Mln Fine On Apple And Amazon For Unfair Trade Practices

The Italian government fines US tech kingpins Amazon, Inc (AMZN) and Apple, Inc (AAPL) over $230 million on the grounds of antitrust laws. The fine concluded an investigation being done by the Italian antitrust watchdogs on the reselling of Apple's Beats kit on Amazon.

The lawsuit alleged Apple and Amazon colluded with each other to ban some of the legitimate resellers of Beats on Amazon's Italian e-retail website. The companies were also found guilty of decreasing the discounts available on the products.

Following the findings, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) slapped a 203.2 million euro or $228 million fine on the duo. In its announcement, the AGCM said that the companies have violated Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The authorities opened the case in 2020.

The authority argued that since almost 70% of the electronics purchases in the country are done on Amazon's platform, the primary impetus of keeping the playing field even is on them. The fine on Amazon for banning the resellers and participating in unhealthy trade practices was a 68.7 million euro or $77 million fine, while Apple was fined 134.5 million euro or $151.2 million for their part in the scheme.

However, both the companies have argued that the decision was not just. A spokesperson for Amazon said, "We reject the suggestion that Amazon benefits by excluding sellers from our store since our business model relies on their success. As a result of the agreement, Italian customers can find the latest Apple and Beats products on our store, benefiting from a catalog that more than doubled, with better deals and faster shipping."

Apple in the meantime has claimed that they have not participated in any wrongdoing but have just made sure that whatever was being sold in Apple's name is original Apple product.

"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," said the phone-maker.

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