Big Tech Fine Suddenly Scrapped

Last Monday, an Italian administrative court canceled a fine on Amazon and Apple imposed by Italy’s anti-trust authority for alleged collusion.

In November last year, Apple and Amazon were fined over 200 million euros (approximately $225 million US) by Italy’s anti-trust authority, Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) for alleged anti-competitive cooperation in the sale of Apple and Beats products.

Both companies appealed the decision.

In a statement at the time, Apple denied the allegation saying the company works closely with resellers to ensure its customers are purchasing genuine products. Apple said it has “dedicated teams of experts” worldwide who work with law enforcement, customs, and merchants to make sure only genuine Apple products are sold.

Amazon also denied AGCM’s allegations, saying it rejected the suggestion that Amazon benefits from excluding sellers from its stores. Amazon argued that its business model depends on the success of its sellers.

Earlier this year, the fine was reduced to 173.3 million euros ($170.4 million US) after a “material error” was found in the initial calculation.

In a statement last Monday, Amazon said it welcomed the administrative court decision.

In July, Italy’s AGCM announced that it had launched an investigation into Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in data portability. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has denied the allegation.

AGCM alleged that Google hindered interoperability with other platforms, especially the Weople app made by Italian-based company Hoda. In doing so, the watchdog said, Google is limiting competition by constraining the “economic benefits that consumers can derive from their data.”

Google had argued that giving competitors the access the AGCM wants would put the privacy of users at risk and encourage “fraudulent activities.” The company insists that there are already ways for competitors to “increase direct portability of data in their services.”

It is unclear if last week’s ruling will affect AGCM’s investigation into Google.