Italy raids Apple, Amazon offices over Beats headphone sales

Italy’s antitrust authority said it’s investigating Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. after a local retailer complained they’d been banned from re-selling products on the online marketplace.

Apple's Beats brand Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones
Apple’s Beats brand Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones

Nate Lanxon and Natalia Drozdiak for Bloomberg News:

The Italian offices of both companies were inspected Wednesday by authorities, according to a statement Wednesday. Apple and Amazon are suspected of unfairly curbing the sale of the iPhone maker’s Beats products by anyone other than members of its official reseller program.

This could “lower the incentives for efficient competition on the prices of Apple and Beats products” with “negative effects for consumers and businesses,” the authority said in a statement.

In its statement, the Italian authority said it was told many retailers had been removed from Amazon’s local marketplace as a result of re-selling Apple products without being an ordained vendor.

MacDailyNews Take: The agreement between Apple and Amazon require Apple (including subsidiary Beats) products to be sold by Authorized Resellers of Apple products in order to reduce the sale of knockoff or used products represented as new.

The deal encompasses the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and India.

Buying Apple products on Amazon prior to the late 2018 agreement was a crapshoot. It’s much more reliable today.

The Authorized Apple Reseller program is designed to provide confidence to buyers that they are buying genuine, new Apple products. The sales experience matters. Apple has a right to weed out those who would hurt customer satisfaction.

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