Amazon and Apple are facing antitrust investigations in Germany because of a policy that excludes sellers of independent-brand products in online markets.
The Federal Cartel Office, the German antitrust regulator, said in a statement that it is investigating the two companies over Amazon's policy called "brandgating." The statement stated that the policy allows Apple and other branded product manufacturers to remove independent sellers from the platform, as long as Amazon can sell these products.
The German Federal Cartel Office stated: “Brand control agreements help prevent product piracy, but these measures must be in compliance with antitrust rules and will not eliminate competition.”
Tech giants such as Amazon and Apple are being scrutinized by regulators around the world, including the European Union. The European Union is preparing to introduce new laws to restrain Silicon Valley giants. Relevant departments are considering how to take action against these companies. Critics claim that these companies also manipulate the rules of the game when they set the rules for the platforms their competitors are on.
Amazon said in a statement that the company will never cancel the sales license without good reason and spend huge sums of money to protect consumers from illegally distributed goods. Amazon said it is cooperating with regulators.
German regulators said that Apple is a prominent example of Amazon's "brand gating" policy. Starting in 2019, only authorized Apple suppliers can sell products on Amazon's online market, and Amazon itself has become such an authorized seller.
Apple issued a statement saying: "Consumer safety is our number one priority. Our team is working with law enforcement agencies, distributors and global e-commerce sites to remove counterfeit products from the market. We are working with Amazon to protect our Consumers are protected from counterfeit products and convince them that they are receiving genuine Apple products out of the box."