Spain’s antitrust regulator has imposed fines worth a total of €194.1 million ($218 million) on Amazon and Apple for colluding to restrict competition on the Amazon website in Spain.
The two contracts the companies signed on October 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 Tuesday.
Apple was fined €143.6 million ($161.4 million) and Amazon €50.5 million ($56.7 million). The two companies have two months to appeal the decision.
Spokespeople from Apple and Amazon separately said their respective companies intended to appeal the fines.
“The two companies restricted without justification the number of sellers of Apple products on the Amazon website in Spain,” CNMC said.
More than 90% of the retailers that were using Amazon’s marketplace to sell Apple devices were blocked as a result, it added.
Amazon also restricted the advertising Apple’s competitors were allowed to place on its website when users searched for Apple products, the regulator said.
Following the deal between the two tech giants, the prices of Apple devices sold online rose in Spain, it added.
“We reject the suggestion made by CNMC that Amazon benefits from excluding sellers from its marketplace, as our business model hinges precisely on the success of the companies selling through Amazon,” the Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
She added that Apple device buyers benefited from the deal, and the number of discounts on iPads and iPhones had increased.
Apple said the agreement with Amazon was designed to limit the number of counterfeits sold online. Previously, the company was spending a lot of money and effort to send hundreds of thousands of ‘take-down’ notices to stop the sale of counterfeited devices, it said.
Reuters reported in October on a case in Italy involving the two companies that had similarities to the one brought in Spain. That action initially saw them facing €200 million ($224.8 million) in fines before it was eventually dropped.