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Technology

Spain Antitrust Watchdog Fines Amazon, Apple €194 million

By Reuters
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Spain Antitrust Watchdog Fines Amazon, Apple €194 million

Spain's antitrust watchdog on Tuesday said it had imposed fines worth a total €194.1 million on Amazon and Apple for colluding to limit the online sale of devices from Apple and competitors in Spain.

The two contracts the companies signed on Oct. 31, 2018 granting Amazon the status of authorized Apple dealer included anti-competitive clauses that affected the online market for electronic devices in Spain, CNMC, as the watchdog is known, said in a statement.

Blocked

"The two companies restricted without justification the number of sellers of Apple products on the Amazon website in Spain," it said.

More than 90% of the existing retailers who were using Amazon's market place to sell Apple devices were blocked as a result, CNMC added.

Restrictions

Amazon also reduced the capacity of retailers in the European Union based outside Spain to access Spanish customers, the regulator said.

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It also restricted the advertising Apple's competitors were allowed to place on its website when users searched for Apple products, CNMC said.

Following the deal between the two tech giants, the prices of Apple devices sold online rose in Spain, it added.

Fines

Apple was fined €143.6 million and Amazon €50.5 million. The two companies have two months to appeal the decision.

Representatives for Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Online Content Rules

Earlier this month, Amazon launched a legal challenge against its inclusion in a group of companies subject to tough European Union online content rules, in a move that technology experts have said may prompt other tech giants to follow suit.

Amazon's challenge at the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe's second highest, is the first by a Big Tech company and came two weeks after German online retailer Zalando sued the European Commission over the same issue.

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