Apple Faces Italian Antitrust Probe Over Beats Headphones, Other Kit

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Offices in Italy belonging to Apple and Amazon have this week been raided as authorities open investigation into sale of Beats headphones and other Apple kit

Apple and Amazon are facing an antitrust investigation in Italy over the sale of Apple equipment, including its Beats headphones.

The investigation centres over whether Apple and Amazon allegedly engaged in anti-competitive cooperation in the sale of Apple products and Beats headphones, Reuters reported.

Officials are essentially investigating whether Apple and Amazon reached an anti-competitive agreement to prevent electronics retailers not included in Apple’s official programme to sell the products.

Antitrust investigation

Apple had purchased premium headphone manufacturer Beats Electronics Beats for a cool $3 billion back in 2014.

That move came as the Cupertino-based company sought to improve its street cred ahead of its iWatch launch that year.

But now both Apple and Amazon are being targeted by Italian officials over the sale of Apple goods in that country.

The investigation has reportedly already seen antitrust officials raid Amazon and Apple offices in Italy on Tuesday.

Italian woes

Apple has been in trouble in Italy a few times before this.

In late 2015 for example, Apple opted to settle a corporate tax dispute with the Italian tax office, and handed over 318m euros (£235m).

The iPad maker had faced allegations that it had failed to pay corporate taxes to the tune of 879m euros (£649m).

And in 2011, Apple was slapped with a €900,000 (£750,000) fine by the Italian Antitrust Authority, which accused the iPad maker of misleading consumers over product guarantees.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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