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Spain Fines Amazon and Apple for suspected price-fixing

What To Know

  • Spain’s antitrust regulator, Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), has stated that both companies unjustifiably restricted the number of Apple product sellers on the Amazon platform in Spain.
  • The CNMC (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia) has imposed fines on Apple and Amazon about an alleged price-fixing conspiracy based on contracts signed on October 31st, 2018.
  • The regulatory agency disclosed that, as a consequence of the agreement, over 90 percent of the existing vendors selling Apple products on Amazon were obstructed from accessing the storefront.
  • In response to the CNMC’s allegations, both Amazon and Apple have refuted the claim that the agreement hurt consumers, as stated in separate statements provided to Reuters.

Spain has enforced substantial penalties on Amazon and Apple, amounting to 194.1 million euros (over $218 million), due to violations of antitrust regulations. As reported by Reuters, these fines originate from a 2018 agreement between the two tech behemoths, wherein Amazon was authorized to sell Apple products.

However, this agreement also included alleged anti-competitive provisions. Spain’s antitrust regulator, Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), has stated that both companies unjustifiably restricted the number of Apple product sellers on the Amazon platform in Spain. This action by the CNMC underscores the country’s dedication to ensuring equitable competition and safeguarding consumer interests in the digital marketplace.

The CNMC (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia) has imposed fines on Apple and Amazon about an alleged price-fixing conspiracy based on contracts signed on October 31st, 2018. Apple has incurred a fine of 143.6 million euros, while Amazon faces a fine of 50.5 million euros.

Spain Imposes Significant Fines on Amazon and Apple for Alleged Price-Fixing and Anti-Competitive Practices

The regulatory agency disclosed that, as a consequence of the agreement, over 90 percent of the existing vendors selling Apple products on Amazon were obstructed from accessing the storefront. Additionally, Amazon is accused of impeding non-Spanish retailers within the European Union from reaching Spanish customers.

The online retailer is also alleged to have curtailed the visibility of advertising from Apple’s competitors in consumer search results for Apple devices. These actions, according to the CNMC, stifled competition and contravened antitrust regulations. The fines serve as a deterrent against anti-competitive practices and aim to foster fair market conditions in the digital realm.

According to the CNMC’s findings, the purported price-fixing conspiracy led to inflated online prices for Apple devices listed and sold in Spain. The antitrust regulator emphasized that the actions undertaken by Apple and Amazon directly impacted the pricing of Apple products in the Spanish market.

By restraining competition and implementing anti-competitive measures, the companies distorted market dynamics, ultimately resulting in increased prices for consumers seeking to purchase Apple devices online in Spain.

In response to the CNMC’s allegations, both Amazon and Apple have refuted the claim that the agreement hurt consumers, as stated in separate statements provided to Reuters. Amazon, represented by a spokesperson, rejected the suggestion made by the CNMC and underscored that their business model relies on the success of companies selling through their marketplace.

They asserted that excluding sellers from the platform does not benefit Amazon. On the other hand, Apple asserted that the agreement primarily aimed to combat counterfeit sales. The company explained that it had previously made significant investments in issuing hundreds of thousands of takedown notices to remove counterfeit products from circulation.

Apple’s position implies that the agreement with Amazon aimed to curtail the presence of fraudulent goods rather than restrict competition.

Both companies have a two-month window to appeal the decision made by the antitrust watchdog. Spokespeople representing Apple have informed Reuters that they intend to exercise this right and will proceed with appealing the CNMC’s ruling.

Their objective is to challenge the findings and present their arguments in hopes of overturning or mitigating the fines imposed on them. The appeal process will provide the companies an opportunity to provide further justifications and evidence in defense of their actions.

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