After the acquisition of the Beats headphone lineup back in 2014 for about US$3 billion, Apple reportedly made an agreement in 2018 that only selected resellers will be allowed to sell the headphones on Amazon’s Italian website.
However, both Apple and Amazon were recently hit with a huge fine for allegedly flouting competition regulations.
Both tech giants said they will appeal against the fine. But the Italian Competition Authority said the actions of the two American tech giants violated EU rules and affected competition on pricing.
It, therefore, ordered both companies to end the restriction and allow resellers access in a “non-discriminatory manner.”
Apple on the other hand believes there is no foul play from their own end. Apple partnering with a selected number of resellers is meant to promote consumers’ safety as well as reduce the sale of counterfeit products.
“Non-genuine products deliver an inferior experience and can often be dangerous,” said its spokesperson.
“To ensure our customers purchase genuine products, we work closely with our reseller partners and have dedicated teams of experts around the world who work with law enforcement, customs, and merchants, to ensure only genuine Apple products are being sold.”
Amazon also said it disagreed with the decision of the Italian authority and that its shared part of the proposed fine was “disproportionate and unjustified”.
A spokesperson for the company said: “We reject the suggestion that Amazon benefits by excluding sellers from our store since our business model relies on their success.
It said the agreement at issue “more than doubled” the catalog of products available to Italian customers, and resulted in “better deals and faster shipping”.