Spain’s antitrust authority, Comision Nacional De Los Mercados Y La Competencia (CNMC), is investigating if Apple and Amazon unjustly conspired to place restrictions on third-party sellers of Apple products like iPhones, iPads, and Macs. The body has said that the two companies are in violation of its competition laws.
Apple and Amazon under investigation in Spain for possible anti-competitive practices
In a press release, the body announced that it has initiated a sanctioning case against Amazon and Apple for “possible anti-competitive practices in the sectors of internet sales of electronic products and the provision of marketing services to third-party retailers through online platforms in Spain.”
The CNMC said it had access “to certain information from which it can be concluded the existence of rational indications of the committing, by Amazon and Apple” of breaching “articles 1 of 2 Law 15/2007, of July 3, on the Defence of Competition (LDC) and 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).”
The possible unlawful conduct would consist of an agreement between both groups that would include possible restrictions on the Amazon website in Spain regarding:
(i) The retail sale of APPLE products by third parties;
(ii) Certain advertising of competing Apple products and certain campaigns directed at Apple customers by Amazon;
(iii) Other commercial restrictions.
Before this deal, Apple products were either unavailable or only sold through third-party resellers. This meant that Amazon customers were offered products are varying price points and not always in the best conditions. As a solution, both companies reached an agreement that required resellers to be authorized by the Cupertino tech giant, or purchase at least $2.5 million in refurbished inventory every 90 days. Vendors who could not meet those requirements were thereby prevented from selling Apple products on Amazon.
The CNMC says the “investigated behaviours could be restricting competition in the sectors of the Internet sale of electronic products, and the provision of marketing services to thirdparty retailers through online platforms in Spain.”
As is custom with other anti-trust investigations, the CNMC investigation will take over a maximum period of 18 months which includes looking into a matter and determining a resolution.