Italy opens antitrust probe into Amazon, Apple

It's over allegations of anti-competitive sales tactics

Italy’s antitrust authority announced on Wednesday it had opened an investigation into whether Apple Inc and Amazon Inc had engaged in cooperation to stifle competition by banning the sale of certain hardware. In particular, Apple products and Beats headphones.

The Italian competition authority AGCM said the investigation was aimed at establishing whether Apple and Amazon had reached an anti-competitive agreement to prevent electronics reailers not included in Apple’s official programme to sell these products. 

The authority sid that such agreement to potentially exclude some subjects from "the marketplace" would have potentially reduced competition "due to the raising of barriers to the outlet of online sales markets to the detriment of unofficial retailers," mainly small and medium-sized enterprises who sell on the web. It stated that such move would also de-incentivise Apple and Amazon to competitively price Apple and Beats Products, negatively impacting consumers and businesses.

Antitrust officials have already searched Amazon and Apple offices in Italy on Wednesday.

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