Italian antitrust fine for Apple and Amazon overturned on appeal • TechCrunch

An antitrust victory for Amazon and Apple in Italy, where an appeals court overturned a multimillion-dollar fine the pair was handed last year for alleged collusion following an investigation into the resale of Apple and (Apple’s) Beats kit in Italian e- of Amazon. commercial market.

The original fine of €203m (total) had already been reduced to €173.3m earlier this year — due to an error in the competition watchdog’s calculations. But today the regional administrative court of the Lazio region overturned the fine altogether (via Reuters).

The competition watchdog, AGCM, declined to comment on the decision.

The reason for overturning the sentence appears to be related to administrative procedures.

Italian press reports that the court agreed with the tech giants’ complaints that the regulator did not give them enough time to properly defend themselves. and also found that the AGCM failed to conduct elements of its investigation effectively — underscoring the challenge facing regulators seeking to investigate well-resourced tech giants, as all evidence leading to an antitrust decision can be scrutinized during appeal and procedures must be strong enough to withstand even accusations of unfairness.

Amazon welcomed her Tar de Lazio decision by sending us the following statement:

“We welcome the Court’s decision. Our business model across Europe is built on the success of small and medium-sized businesses and we will continue to work hard to deliver a great choice from Apple, as well as the value and convenience our customers love.”

Apple was also contacted for comment, but at the time of writing had not responded.

Both companies have more on their antitrust plate in Europe, where other national regulators (such as in the UK and Germany) are investigating a range of concerns related to their businesses — including complaints about Apple’s App Store and Amazon’s use of third-party sellers. data, among others.

The European Commission also has a number of open investigations into Apple, including one into complaints against Apple Pay and another focused on App Store rules for music streaming services – two areas where it has previously issued formal objection statements.

While Amazon is also under investigation in the EU over its use of merchant data, in relation to the way the “Buy Box” works on its e-commerce marketplace and the Terms and Conditions it assigns to sellers who can to have their offers suitable for its loyalty program, Prime .

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