THE National Court has temporarily suspended massive fines given to Amazon and Apple by Spain’s competition watchdog- the CNMC- over collusion.
The international giants will now be able to appeal against a July ruling when they were fined a total of €194 million for preventing retailers other than Amazon from selling Apple items like iPhones on Amazon’s websites in Spain.
Apple’s penalty was €143.6 million with Amazon ordered to stump up €50.5 million, with the CNMC stating the collusion affected the rights of ‘third-party’ dealers.
In evidence submitted to the National Court, the companies warned about the serious impact that the fines could have on their businesses in Spain, especially as litigation could continue for a further three years.
Amazon said that paying the fines would compromise 25% of all its liquid assets in Spain as of the end of the year 2022..
Amazon and Apple will also be able to continue bidding for public contracts in Spain until the end of the legal process- another reason for their joint appeal to the court.
The CNMC had previously ruled that a contract signed by the two companies in October 2018 granting Amazon the status of authorised Apple dealer on its websites in Spain included anti-competitive clauses.
It said it prevented more than 90% of the existing retailers from selling Apple goods on Amazon’s market place website.
Following these contracts, Amazon also reduced the capacity of retailers in the European Union based outside Spain to access Spanish customers, and restricted the advertising Apple’s competitors were allowed to place on its website when users searched for Apple products, the regulator said.
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