Italy hits Amazon and Apple with £168m antitrust fine for violating EU rules by restricting competition in sale of goods including Beats products

  • Italy’s competition watchdog slapped Apple with £113m fine, Amazon with £58m
  • Watchdog reported that Amazon banned official and unofficial resellers for Apple products 
  • Apple’s subsidiary Beats headphones were also penalized. 
  • Italian officials claim Apple and Amazon signed the 2018 deal 

Italy’s competition watchdog has fined Amazon and Apple more than £168 million for entering into a deal to penalise other sellers of Apple products in breach of EU law.

The watchdog ordered Apple to pay £113 million and Amazon £58 million after the tech firm and the e-commerce giant entered into a deal to penalise official and non-official sellers of Apple products. 

Beats by Dre headphones are also covered by the agreement. 

A number of European fairness rules are now being applied to US tech giants. This includes the selling of electronics to the collection of news content through social media. 

The agreement also covered Beats by Dre headphones, which are owned by Apple

An Apple iPhone

The watchdog ordered Apple to pay £113 million and Amazon £58 million after the tech firm and the e-commerce giant entered into a deal to penalise official and non-official sellers of Apple products (an iPhone, right). Beats by Dre headphones, which Apple owns (left), were also included in the agreement.

Washington will pay close attention to the developments, as American lawmakers plan similar actions to keep Silicon Valley’s beasts out of destroying competition and freedoms online. 

Amazon and Apple both stated that they would appeal the Italian fines.

Italian authorities said that a 2018 deal between US and Italian companies had ‘barred authorized and unofficial resellers Apple and Beats products using’, and allowed the sales of these products on to only selected parties and in a discriminatory way.

According to it, the aim was to reduce retailers’ numbers and restrict cross-border transactions.

Consumers were disappointed by the agreement because Amazon purchased at least 70% of all electronics products bought in Italy.

Amazon stated that they strongly disagreed with the …. decision and intend to appeal. They also said the fine was excessive and unfair.

The company said that it didn’t make sense for Amazon to benefit ‘by exclusion sellers’ since its business model is based on their success.

Apple claimed that they believed it had done nothing wrong, and that this agreement was part its efforts to ensure genuine products were sold through their reseller partners.

According to the watchdog, its investigation inspired antitrust officials in Germany and Spain to launch similar proceedings. 

The US could crackdown on large tech companies, which would lead to the dissolution of some of its largest platforms. Europe is leading the charge in antitrust litigation. US legislators are looking to ease antitrust enforcement.

Two weeks ago, the Italy fine came just after the European Union rejected Google’s appeal against an antitrust fine of 2.4 billion euros.

Google,, Facebook and have all been accused of trying to monopolize competition and not paying enough taxes. They also stole media content.

Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, the second richest man in the world after Elon Musk

Jeff Bezos owns Amazon, making him the second wealthiest man after Elon Musk.

Big Tech critics would like to see Apple and Google loosen their grip on the online app marketplaces. They want more competition in an advertising market that is dominated by Google, Facebook and Google; and third-party sellers to have better access to Amazon’s ecommerce platform.

Italy, France and Germany won major victories in taxation when the G7’s richest countries agreed to set a global minimum corporate tax rate of 5% for world’s largest companies. This includes the tech titans from the US.

Since then, nearly 140 countries have backed the 15% tax.

Reforms are intended to eliminate the practice by large firms like Apple and Google that profit is hidden in low-tax jurisdictions.

EU plans to impose mammoth fines up to 10% on firms that violate competition rules. This could lead to their being shut down.

The Italian consumer group Codacons welcomed the Apple and Amazon fines. They stated that any restriction on access for operators using e-commerce platforms is detrimental to consumers.