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Apple and Amazon antitrust fines cancelled by Italian court

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An Apple and Amazon antitrust investigation in Italy last year found both companies guilty of price-fixing, fining them $225M. Both companies appealed, and a court has now cancelled the fines.

The basis of the decision has not yet been announced, and Apple had not commented at the time of writing …

Apple and Amazon antitrust fines

The case dates back to 2018, when the two companies reached a multi-country agreement to limit the sale of Apple and Beats products to Apple authorized resellers. The deal resulted in the creation of an official Apple Store on Amazon.

The reason given for this was that it was sometimes hard to tell who was actually selling a product, and whether or not it was genuine. All products sold through the official store are certified genuine.

However, 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.

The deal applied in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India. Three of those countries – Germany, Italy, and Spain – opened antitrust investigations. Italian regulators concluded that both companies were guilty of price-fixing, with Apple fined €134.5M, and Amazon €68.7M.

Now overturned by court

A brief Reuters report says that the fine has now been overturned.

An Italian administrative court scrapped a fine imposed by the country’s antitrust authority on U.S. tech giants Apple (AAPL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) for alleged collusion, a document showed on Monday […]

Earlier this year, the fine was reduced to an overall 173.3 million euros due to a “material error” in the first calculation. read more

Amazon said in a statement it welcomed the court’s decision. The antitrust authority declined to comment, while Apple had no immediate comment.

The basis for this decision has not yet been reported, but both companies had argued that their primary aim was to stop the sale of counterfeit products – especially cables and chargers – and to ensure a high standard of customer service.

Apple said back in 2016 that its own testing had revealed that almost 90% of power bricks and Lightning cables claiming to be genuine were in fact fake, with one particular seller, Mobile Star, responsible for a substantial number of them.

Perhaps Tim has friends in high places …

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