The regional administrative court of Lazio, Italy, has cancelled antitrust fines imposed on US-based technology giants Apple and Amazon.
Citing court documents, Reuters reported that the decision to overturn the penalty was made due to administrative procedures.
Last November, Italy’s antitrust watchdog, Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), imposed a €203m ($201.9m) fine on the two firms for alleged anti-competitive cooperation when selling Apple and Beats products.
In 2020, AGCM launched an investigation into Amazon and Apple for banning the sale of Apple and Beats-branded products to retailers who had not joined Apple’s official programme.
The watchdog considered this exclusion move to be potentially damaging to competition in the market and having negative effects on both consumers and businesses.
Earlier this year, the fine was reduced to €173.3m due to a ‘clerical error’ in the first calculation.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the Italian court, Lazio TAR, agreed with Amazon and Apple’s complaints that the AGCM had not given them enough time to defend themselves.
The newspaper quoted judges as saying: “The AGCM could have acquired all the information necessary to outline the basic elements of the offence and, therefore, decide whether or not to initiate the subsequent investigation phase in a much shorter period of time than that actually elapsed, during which no activities appear to have been carried out.”
Apple has not given any statement on the issue, but Amazon welcomed the court’s ruling.
In a statement, the e-commerce giant said: “Our business model across Europe is built on the success of small and medium-sized businesses and we will continue to work hard to deliver a broad selection of Apple products, the quality of service and affordability that our customers love.”
In December last year, Amazon received a €1.13bn fine from AGCM over allegations it had abused its dominant market position.