Italy’s competition watchdog imposed fines totaling more than 200 million euros ($225 million) against Amazon and Apple on Tuesday in the latest action against US tech giants in Europe for their business activities.
The watchdog ordered Apple to pay 134.5 million euros and e-commerce company Amazon 68.7 million euros for violating EU law through restrictions on fines for sellers of Apple and Beats products. 4,444 major U.S. tech companies have faced a series of antitrust challenges in Europe, an approach closely watched by regulators in Washington, who have pledged to strengthen oversight. technology industry. Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.
The Italian watchdog says that a 2018 agreement between the two US companies “bars official and unofficial resellers of Apple and Beats products from using Amazon.it, allowing such products only sold in that marketplace to Amazon and to select parties in a discriminatory manner.
The aim, he said, is to limit the number of retailers and limit cross-border sales.
This deal is bad news for consumers, as at least 70% of electronics bought in Italy are purchased on Amazon.
The watchdog said its investigation inspired German and Spanish antitrust authorities to “initiate similar proceedings”.
A crackdown on big tech companies could lead to the disintegration of the biggest platforms, with Europe waging antitrust lawsuits and US lawmakers considering measures to facilitate enforcement of antitrust laws.
The fine imposed against Italy comes just two weeks after a European Union court rejected Google’s appeal against an antitrust fine of 2.4 billion euros.
Giants Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft nicknamed GAFAM have been accused of obstructing competition, not paying enough taxes, stealing media content, and threatening democracy by spreading the word. false news.
Big Tech critics want Apple and Google to loosen their grip on their online app marketplaces; more competition in the digital advertising market dominated by Google and Facebook; and improve access to Amazon’s e-commerce platform by third-party sellers.
On taxes, Italy, France, Germany and Spain won big in June as the wealthiest G7 countries agreed to a global minimum corporate tax rate for the world’s largest companies, including the giant US technology companies.
Since then, nearly 140 countries have supported 15% tax.
The reform aims to end the practice of big companies like Apple and Google of protecting their profits in low-tax countries.
The EU has also announced plans to massive fines of up to 10% of sales against tech companies that violate competition rules, which could even lead to their breach.
The Italian consumer association Codacons was quick to welcome the fines of Apple and Amazon, stating that “any restriction on operators’ access to e-commerce platforms is detrimental to for consumers”.
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