Tech

Italian officials raid local offices of Amazon and Apple for antitrust probe over sale of Beats headphones

Key Points
  • Italian authorities want to know if Apple and Amazon engaged in anti-competitive cooperation in the sale of Apple products and Beats headphones.
  • Officials searched Amazon and Apple offices in Italy on Tuesday. 
  • The probe is the latest threat to Apple and Amazon from European regulators.
Beats Solo Pro headphones
Beats

Italian antitrust officials said they searched the local offices of Apple and Amazon Tuesday as part of an antitrust probe into whether the companies engaged in anti-competitive cooperation in the sale of Apple products and Beats headphones.

The Italian Competition and Market Authority announced the probe on Wednesday. It said the investigation was aimed at establishing whether Apple and Amazon had reached an anti-competitive agreement to prevent electronics retailers not included in Apple's official program to sell the products.

The probe is the latest threat to Apple and Amazon from European regulators. The European Commission announced last month it had launched two antitrust investigations into Apple's App Store rules and Apple Pay platform. And Amazon is expected to face antitrust charges in the EU over its treatment of third-party sellers, The Wall Street Journal reported in June.

In the U.S., antitrust attention on Apple and Amazon has been largely overshadowed in public view by scrutiny of Google and Facebook. But the companies be in the spotlight on Monday when the CEOs of all four companies testify before a House panel that's been investigating their competitive practices.

The Federal Trade Commission has been asking third-party sellers about their relationship with Amazon, according to an earlier report from Bloomberg. Politco reported last month that the Justice Department and several state attorneys general are taking early steps toward launching a probe likely involving the App Store.

A spokesperson for Amazon Italia said in a statement, "We are fully collaborating with the Authority." An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

-Reuters contributed to this report.

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(This story includes a correction from Reuters to properly reflect the date of the raid.)