Spain Fines Amazon and Apple €194 Million for Anticompetitive Practices

Spain fines Amazon & Apple €194M for colluding to stifle competition. Anticompetitive practices lead to penalties. Tech giants plan to appeal. Learn more!

Jul 18, 2023 - 11:59
Sep 13, 2023 - 04:51
Spain Fines Amazon and Apple €194 Million for Anticompetitive Practices
Spain Fines Amazon and Apple €194 Million for Anticompetitive Practices

Spain's antitrust watchdog has imposed fines totaling €194 million ($218 million) on Amazon and Apple for colluding to stifle competition and favor direct sales of Apple products through Amazon's platform, squeezing out smaller retailers. The 2018 agreements between the tech giants limited free competition for third-party sellers and hampered advertising capabilities, prompting the regulator to take action to safeguard fair market practices.

The National Markets and Competition Commission in Spain discovered that the agreements restricted competition in the internet sale of electronic products and marketing services provided to third-party retailers through online platforms (Marketplace). As a result, 90% of third-party sellers offering Apple products were forced to leave Amazon's platform when the distribution deal was renewed.

Apple was fined €143.6 million ($161 million), and Amazon received a penalty of €50.5 million ($56.7 million). Both companies intend to appeal the decision.

Amazon defended its business model, emphasizing that its sellers, mostly small businesses, benefit from their presence on the platform. The 2018 agreement, according to Amazon, resulted in more product listings and greater discounts for iPads and iPhones, leading to better outcomes for customers.

Apple stated that its motive for signing the agreement was to combat counterfeiting and safety issues, and it had previously sent Amazon takedown notices for problematic products, underscoring its commitment to consumer protection.

This latest action reflects Europe's ongoing crackdown on Big Tech companies for potential abuse of dominant market positions. Spain follows Italy, which fined Apple and Amazon over €200 million two years ago for violating EU rules by restricting competition in the sale of Apple- and Beats-branded products.

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