A Spanish regulator has fined Amazon and Apple companies a total of 194 million euros after they entered into agreements that limited competition. Amazon denied access to its Spanish web store to small sellers of Apple products. The Internet group also limited Apple’s ability to promote products from its competitors.
Amazon became an “authorized” seller of Apple products like the iPhone in 2018. In addition, both US groups only allow a limited number of pre-selected companies to sell Apple products through Amazon. According to the Spanish Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), 90 percent of all Apple sellers on Amazon have been excluded from the country’s largest online store.
Apple’s competitors were less likely to respond to Amazon customer searches. For example, CNMC noticed that searches on www.amazon.es for iPhones worked differently than for competitors’ smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S22. Anyone who typed the name of an Apple phone into the search box saw only iPhones in the results. But after a search for Samsung phones, models from competitors such as Oppo appeared.
Amazon owes more than 50 million euros. Apple pays almost 144 million euros. The companies have announced they will appeal the fines.
An Amazon spokeswoman denied the internet company benefited from excluding sellers. “Our revenue model is based on the success of companies selling through Amazon,” the written response says. Apple says the agreements with Amazon are designed to combat the sale of counterfeit goods.
This is not the first time competition authorities have criticized the collaboration between Apple and Amazon. In Italy, both companies were fined a total of 200 million euros in 2021. It also includes the unauthorized exclusion of many small resellers of Apple products. In the US, a lawsuit is pending against Amazon and Apple by angry consumers. The plaintiffs allege that the companies are putting themselves at a disadvantage by artificially raising the prices of iPhones and iPads on Amazon by restricting competition.
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