News

Italy hits Apple, Google with $22.5 million antitrust fine for ‘extensive’ data use


Italy’s antitrust watchdog fined Apple and Google $22.5 million on Friday, the second time the regulator has sanctioned US tech giants this week.

It comes as European countries have cracked down on Big Tech’s business practices, while the European Union is moving forward with legislation to toughen regulation.

Italy’s competition authority said it had fined Apple and Google $11.2 million each for violations of consumer law, including not providing enough information to customers and using “aggressive tactics” in using their data.

“Neither Apple nor Google has provided clear and immediate information about the acquisition and use of user data for commercial purposes,” the statement said.

Italy’s antitrust watchdog fined Apple and Google $22.5 million on Friday, the second time the regulator has sanctioned US tech giants this week.

Just days ago, the tech giants themselves were fined $224 million by Italy for violating EU competition rules.

The watchdog has ordered Apple to pay $150 million and $77 million from Amazon after the tech company and e-commerce giant entered into a deal to penalize official and unofficial sellers of Apple products.

The agreement also covered Apple-owned Beats by Dre headphones.

US officials are expected to watch developments with interest as US lawmakers look to similar steps to prevent Silicon Valley monsters from stifling competition and stifling free speech online.

Both Amazon and Apple said they intend to appeal the fines imposed in Italy.

Italy's competition authority said it had fined Apple and Google $11.2 million each for violating consumer law, including failing to provide enough information to customers and using 'aggressive tactics' in using their data.

Italy’s competition authority said it had fined Apple and Google $11.2 million each for violating consumer law, including failing to provide enough information to customers and using ‘aggressive tactics’ in using their data.

The Italian watchdog said a 2018 deal between the two US companies prevented official and unofficial sellers of Apple and Beats products from using Amazon.it, allowing those products to be sold in this market only to Amazon and to selected parties in a discriminatory manner.

The goal, she added, was to limit the number of retailers and limit cross-border sales.

The agreement revealed bad news for consumers, because at least 70 percent of electronic goods purchased in Italy were purchased from Amazon.

Big US tech companies are the latest to run afoul of European equity rules that have seen companies targeted across a range of issues, from selling consumer electronics, to aggregating news content on social media platforms.

Frustrated by the slow pace of antitrust investigations, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager (pictured) has proposed two sets of rules known as the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act targeting Amazon, Apple, Alphabet unit Google and Facebook

Frustrated by the slow pace of antitrust investigations, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager (pictured) has proposed two sets of rules known as the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act targeting Amazon, Apple, Alphabet unit Google and Facebook

This came as European Union member states agreed yesterday their common position on two landmark legislation that could set up an unprecedented oversight of major technology companies.

Frustrated by the slow pace of antitrust investigations, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager has proposed two sets of rules known as the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act targeting Amazon, Apple and the Alphabet unit Google and Facebook.

The DMA has a list of things to avoid for online gatekeepers — the companies that control data and access to their platforms — backed by fines of up to 10 percent of global sales volume.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is forcing tech giants to do more to tackle illegal content on their platforms, with fines of up to 6 percent of global trading volume for non-compliance.

The common position adopted by the EU countries follows the main points proposed by Vestager, with some modifications, with the European Commission as the main implementer of the new rules despite the initial French proposal to give the national supervisory bodies more power.

The agreement also covered Apple's Beats by Dre headphones

Apple iPhone

The watchdog also recently ordered Apple to pay £113m and £58m to Amazon after the tech company and e-commerce giant entered into a deal to penalize official and unofficial sellers of Apple products (iPhone, right). The agreement also covered Apple-owned Beats by Dre headphones (left).

Negotiations are expected to begin next year, and the rules are likely to be adopted in 2023.

“The proposed DMA demonstrates our desire and ambition for big technology regulation and we hope it sets a global trend,” Zdravko Počivalšek, Slovenian Minister of Economic Development and Technology, said in a statement.

Changes agreed by EU countries include a new obligation for tech companies that strengthens the right of end users to opt out of core platform services, shortens deadlines and improves standards for appointing gatekeepers.

Luxembourg, where Amazon is headquartered in Europe, has welcomed the agreement that appoints national watchdogs as the main implementer of data integrity analysis on companies based in their countries.

Luxembourg is pleased that the country in which the mediator is established in general remains responsible for enforcing the harmonized rules of dynamism analysis, in particular thanks to the close cooperation with other Member States and the Commission – regardless of when this happens to the very big players.”



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button