Technology

What's Up With Apple: Fined in Italy, Doxxed and More

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Amazon have been fined a total of more than €200 million ($225 million) by Italy’s antitrust regulator for violating the country’s anti-competitiveness rules. Amazon was fined €68.7 million and Apple, €134.5 million. Both companies have said they plan to appeal the decision.

According to a report at Reuters, Amazon and Apple agreed in 2018 to restrict the number of Italian resellers who were allowed to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon’s Italian website. Italian authorities ruled that the agreement violated European Union rules and “affected price competition.”

An Apple statement denies the charges:

To ensure our customers purchase genuine products, we work closely with our reseller partners and have dedicated teams of experts around the world who work with law enforcement, customs and merchants to ensure only genuine Apple products are being sold.

Last week, Apple whistleblower Cher Scarlett withdrew a complaint she had filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the company and voluntarily left her position as a software engineer at the company. As part of a separation deal offered in October, Apple wanted Scarlett to agree not to disclose the terms under which she left the company or to disparage the company.

According to a report at Business Insider, Scarlett refused to sign the gag order and filed her complaint with the NLRB on October 25. In that filing, which she recently released to activist investor firm Nia Impact Capital, she accused Apple of making “false statements or misleading statements” in a filing Apple made with the NLRB a week earlier.

On Monday, Nia told the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the firm had “received information, confidentially provided, that Apple has sought to use concealment clauses in the context of discrimination, harassment, and other workplace labor violation claims.” Scarlett said Monday night that she was the source of the information: “I knew the SEC filing was a lie … I wanted a way to be able to hold them accountable to that.”

Scarlett also said she didn’t expect to receive future scheduled payments that were part of her settlement agreement with Apple, but, “The money that would come in a year isn’t worth (Apple) not being held accountable now.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Briefly noted:

Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 4 helped boost the company’s share of the wearables market by 16% year over year, according to a report from Counterpoint Research. Apple was still the leader, but its share of the market fell by 10% due to the delayed release of the Apple Watch Series 7 into the fourth quarter.

Microsoft’s Windows 11 operating system will not be available on new Macs that include Apple’s new ARM-based M1 CPUs. That has been known since the launch of the first M1 Macs earlier this year. But, according to a report at XDA Developers, Microsoft and Qualcomm have had an agreement in place that allows Qualcomm exclusivity in making a CPU to run Windows on ARM-based devices. The agreement is expiring soon (no specific date given), and that could set off a land rush for Windows on ARM. Qualcomm has one coming in 2023, and Samsung may want a piece of the action as well. Stay tuned.