Amazon and Apple fined by the Spanish CNMC for ‘restricting the competition’

July 20, 2023 by
Frank Calviño

The Spanish National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) has fined a total of 194.15 million euros to Amazon and Apple for agreeing to and implementing certain restrictions towards their competition in the Amazon marketplace in Spain that affect third-party resellers of Apple products and competing products of the Apple firm.

Specifically, the fine imposed on Apple's companies amounts to 143.64 million and the fine imposed on Amazon is 50.51 million. As reported by the regulator in a statement, both companies agreed to include a series of clauses in the contracts that regulate the conditions of Amazon as an Apple distributor that affected the sale of Apple products and other brands on the Amazon website in Spain. 

On the one hand, they "unjustifiably" restricted the number of resellers of Apple products on Amazon's website in Spain, and, on the other hand, they limited the advertising space where competing Apple products can be advertised on Amazon's website in Spain, the CNMC has detailed. Finally, they limited the possibility for Amazon to direct marketing campaigns to customers of Apple products on its website in Spain to offer them competing products from other brands.

Amazon and Apple alliance to destroy competition 

According to the Spanish competition regulator organization, on October 31, 2018 Amazon and Apple signed two contracts updating Amazon's conditions as an authorized Apple distributor. 

These included several "competition-restrictive clauses" that affected the online retail sale of electronic products in Spain, given that only a number of Apple-appointed resellers could sell Apple-branded products on Amazon's website in Spain.

This resulted in around 90% of resellers using Amazon's website in Spain to retail Apple products being excluded from the country's main online marketplace. 

It also implied, according to the findings of the CNMC investigation, that sellers not authorized by Apple to market their products on Amazon's website in Spain lost an "important sales channel" given that the platform channels "most of the online purchases" of electronic products at a national level. 

In addition, it meant that sales of Apple products in the marketplace were concentrated in Amazon itself, "drastically reducing competition among resellers of this brand's products".

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