Brussels (Brussels Morning) Spain’s antitrust watchdog has launched a procedure against Apple and Amazon, accusing the two global tech giants of colluding to illegally manipulate the Spanish online market for electronic products.
The National Commission of Markets and Competitions (CNMC) opened a sanctioning file against the two companies, citing suspicions of anti-competitive practices in online sales of electronics and marketing services for third-party retailers.
The CNMC believes Apple and Amazon agreed to restrict certain advertising of Apple’s competing products, while prioritising advertising campaigns directed at Apple’s customers by Amazon.
The investigation includes all four of Amazon’s services operating in Spain — Amazon Services Europe, Amazon Europe Core, Amazon EU and Amazon Online Spain. As for Apple, the case involves all three of its companies providing services in Spain — Apple Distribution International, Apple Retail Spain and Apple Marketing Iberia.
After launching a formal procedure, the CNMC now has a legal deadline of 18 months in which to conclude its investigation and provide its final ruling on the matter.
Currently, both companies are also being scrutinised by the European Commission for their business practices. In January this year, EC vice president Margrethe Vestager announced an antitrust case against Amazon, accusing the company of “completely distorting the online market”.
The EC started a probe into both Amazon’s e-commerce practices and other business practices, in the belief that the company is abusing its access to data on small and medium vendors to secure a competitive advantage, in addition to giving preference to its own offers in its online marketplace.
Apple became the target of an EC probe in May, as Vestager accused the company of putting competing music streaming services at a disadvantage by charging excessive commission on transactions in its App Store for rivals, and prohibiting them from informing their customers of alternative subscription options.