Apple, Amazon Deal Led To $218M Fine By Antitrust Legislator In Spain

Apple and Amazon were fined in Spain for restricting competition based on the reselling and the marketing of Apple products on Amazon's local ecommerce marketplace.

One report breaks down the penalties at around $161 million for Apple and just under $57 million for Amazon.

La Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), Spain’s competition watchdog, identified clauses in the contract that “unreasonably restricted” the number of Apple resellers on, Amazon’s local marketplace.

It also limited advertising space where competing Apple products could be advertised on Amazon Spain, and limited the possibility for Amazon to target customers of Apple products using its website with ads for other electronics brands, according to one report.

The multi-country agreement between Amazon and Apple -- which dates back to October 2018 -- restricted the sale of Apple and Beats products to authorized resellers. The deal applied in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India and resulted in the creation of an official Apple Store on Amazon.

The purpose of the store was to ensure that only genuine Apple products were offered for sale.

The two companies launched the store after counterfeit products were discovered. "Small resellers complained that this completely destroyed their businesses, as the requirements for becoming an authorized reseller include hitting sales volumes of millions of dollars," 9To5Mac reported. 

Antitrust regulators were concerned that limiting competition would keep prices of Apple products artificially high, harming consumers.

Three countries -- Germany, Italy, and Spain -- opened antitrust investigations. In 2021, Italian regulators in 2021 concluded both companies were guilty of price-fixing, but the ruling eventually was overturned. 

The watchdog ordered Apple and Amazon to cease the infringing behavior, and issued financial penalties.

Both companies can appeal the CNMC’s decision to the national court within two months, and both confirmed to multiple news outlets that they intend to do so.

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