Italy’s competition watchdog fines Apple, Google over $11 mn each

(IANS) The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has fined tech giants Apple and Google around $11.3 million each over violations of the Consumer Code – one for lack of information and another for aggressive practices regarding the acquisition and use of consumer data for commercial purposes.

AGCM stated that Google bases its economic activity on the offer of a wide range of products and services connected to the Internet, which include technologies for online advertising, search tools, cloud computing, software, and hardware.

“Apple collects, profiles and uses user data for commercial purposes through the use of its devices and services. Therefore, even without proceeding to any transfer of data to third parties, Apple directly exploits the economic value through a promotional activity to increase the sale of its products and/ or those of third parties through its commercial platforms App Store, iTunes Store and Apple Books,” the AGCM statement said.

In a statement to The Verge, Google said it disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal.

“We give people simple controls to manage their information and limit the use of personal data, and we work hard to be fully compliant with the consumer protection rules,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.

This is the second time Apple has been fined by the Italian regulator this week, after it and Amazon were hit with fines totalling over around $225 million on Tuesday for restricting who’s allowed to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon’s Italian store.

A 2018 agreement between the two companies meant that only certain resellers are allowed to sell the products on Amazon, the regulator said, adding that this broke EU competition rules. Alongside the fine, both companies were told to end the restrictions.

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