The Italian watchdog has opened its third antitrust inquiry into the iPhone maker, focusing on the Cupertino company’s cloud computing services.
There have been allegations over fairness and improper commercial practices in terms of cloud services offered by Apple, Google and Dropbox. And now, Reuters in a short news piece Monday revealed that L’Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), which is Italys’s antitrust authority, has now confirmed that it had opened an inquiry into not just Apple, but Google and Dropbox as well over cloud computing services.
They’re being probed over alleged contravention of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. “The proceedings relate to alleged improper commercial practices and the possible inclusion of unfair clauses in contract conditions,” reads a statement.
setteBIT points us to a press release from the ACGM, here’s a machine translation:
The purpose of the investigation is to ascertain whether Apple and Amazon have implemented a restrictive agreement to prohibit the sale of Apple and Beats branded products by electronics resellers not participating in Apple’s official program, who legitimately purchase products from wholesalers and then resell them to retailers.
In the Authority’s view, the agreement to exclude certain parties from the marketplace appears to have the potential to reduce competition by raising barriers to the outlet of online sales markets to the detriment of unofficial resellers, which are usually small and medium-sized enterprises that sell on the web using marketplace services.
No further details were released at post time.
This investigation is separate from Italy’s recent probe into alleged price fixing, which in June accused both Apple and Amazon of preventing the sale of Apple and Beats devices to resellers.
Image: Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan, Italy