Spain slams €194m fine on Apple and Amazon for ‘brand gating’

18 Jul 2023

Image: © eyetronic/

CNMC alleges that the two tech giants colluded to ‘restrict without justification’ the number of Apple product sellers on Amazon’s Spanish website.

Spanish antitrust watchdog CNMC has slammed Apple and Amazon with a €194m fine for allegedly “brand gating” between their businesses in a way that unfairly restricted competition for the online electronic devices market in Spain.

CNMC, short for La Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, issued a statement today (18 July) announcing the fine and detailing how the companies allegedly colluded to “restrict without justification” the number of Apple product sellers on Amazon’s Spanish website.

The total fine breakdown works out at around €143.6m for Apple and €50.5m for Amazon. Both companies are set to appeal the decision, for which they have a two-month bracket.

“We reject the suggestion made by CNMC that Amazon benefits from excluding sellers from its market place, as our business model hinges precisely on the success of the companies selling through Amazon,” the Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement sent to Reuters.

The spokesperson added that Apple device buyers benefited from the deal, and the number of discounts on iPads and iPhones increased. Meanwhile, Apple said the agreement with Amazon was designed to limit the number of counterfeits sold online.

“At Apple, we work hard to create the best products and user experience in the world,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch.

“To protect users from security, safety and quality risks created by counterfeit products, we have rules in place that have effectively reduced counterfeiting as well as dedicated teams around the world who work tirelessly with merchants, law enforcement and customs officials to ensure our very high standards are met.”

“Moreover, as a result of the agreement with Apple, Spanish customers benefit from a selection that has more than doubled in the last four years, and offers excellent deals and fast shipping,” Amazon Spain also said in a statement to the outlet.

Last October, the two tech giants were involved in a similar antitrust case in Italy that would have seen them cough up more than €200m in fines. However, the case was eventually dropped.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic