The Spanish competition watchdog has levied fines totaling $218 million against US tech giants Amazon and Apple for colluding in the sale of products. The fines were imposed after it was discovered that the two companies had engaged in an agreement to restrict the sale of Apple products on Amazon’s Spanish websites, limiting access to third-party resellers and stifling competition.
According to the regulator’s statement, a contractual provision in a 2018 agreement between Amazon and Apple allowed only selected resellers chosen by Apple to sell Apple products on Amazon.es. As a result, more than 90 percent of resellers who relied on Amazon’s platform to sell Apple products in Spain were excluded from the country’s main online market.
This restrictive practice significantly reduced competition among resellers of Apple products on Amazon’s Spanish platform, leading to unfair advantages for a select few resellers and limiting consumer choice. The competition watchdog concluded that the collusion between the two tech giants had a detrimental impact on market dynamics and violated fair competition principles.
Consequently, the Spanish authority imposed a fine of 50.5 million euros on Amazon and 143.6 million euros on Apple as a penalty for their anti-competitive behavior. The fines serve as a stern warning to tech giants that such collusion and market manipulation will not be tolerated.
Apple and Amazon are no strangers to regulatory scrutiny in Europe. Both companies have faced fines for violating competition laws in recent years. In December 2021, Italy fined Amazon 1.1 billion euros for abusing its dominant market position. Similarly, in October 2022, France slapped Apple with a fine of 371.6 million euros for anti-competitive practices.
Regulators across Europe are actively monitoring the conduct of tech giants to ensure a level playing field for businesses and consumers alike. The enforcement actions and fines underscore the importance of fair competition and the need to prevent powerful companies from engaging in practices that could stifle innovation and limit consumer choice.