Spain’s Antitrust Commission Fines $218 Million on Apple and Amazon
Spain’s Antitrust Commission, National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has fined $218 million on Apple and Amazon for allegedly colluding to block competition on Amazon’s Spanish website.
CNMC accused the two companies of signing contracts in 2018 that ‘unreasonably restricted the number of resellers of Apple products on the Amazon website in Spain.’
Meanwhile, the agency said, the two companies also limited the advertising spaces where competing Apple products can be advertised on the Amazon website in Spain.
As a result of the companies’ agreement, more than 90 per cent of retailers using Amazon to sell Apple products were blocked.
Resultantly, this limited the ability of retailers based in Spain, but within the European Union, to reach Spanish customers. Additionally, competitors of Apple faced advertising restrictions on Amazon's website when users searched for Apple products, further impacting fair competition.
Following the agreement between Apple and Amazon, the prices of Apple devices sold online in Spain increased.
Amazon’s spokesperson denied the CNMC's suggestion that excluding sellers from its marketplace benefited Amazon. The spokesperson explained that Amazon’s business model relies on the success of companies selling through its marketplace. Furthermore, according to the spokesperson, buyers of Apple devices have benefited from the deal, with an increase in discounts on iPhones and iPads.
Apple defended the deal with Amazon, stating that its objective was to reduce the sale of counterfeit products online. Prior to the agreement, the company had to invest significant time and resources in sending numerous takedown notices to prevent the sale of fraudulent devices.
The regulator fined Apple $161.4 million and Amazon $56.7 million and gave the two tech giants two months to appeal the decision.