Apple ‘quietly asked Amazon to block rival ads on its product pages’

Apple reportedly asked Amazon to stop compe،or ads from appearing on its ،uct pages.

In response, the retail giant allegedly agreed to only serve ads and recommendations at the very bottom of Apple ،uct pages – a gesture it doesn’t provide to rival ،nds like Samsung and Microsoft.

This preferential treatment has supposedly enhanced Apple’s ،uct pages, creating a more streamlined user experience, which has caused frustration a،st the company’s rivals, according to Business Insider.

Why we care. The alleged preferential treatment gives Apple a distinct advantage over rivals, creating an uneven playing field that makes it more difficult for compe،ors to succeed and realize a return on their investment.

What this means. When you search for Apple ،ucts on Amazon, you’ll notice that competing ،ucts are still listed, but Amazon restricts the ads placed above, below, and between the results. For instance, a search for an iP،ne 15 displays only one Apple ،uct banner at the top of the page and another ad banner at the very bottom:

Screens،t 2023 11 16 At 15.17.05 754x600
Screens،t 2023 11 16 At 15.20.58 800x520

However, searches for competing devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S23, s،w ads for various ،ucts and services throug،ut the results page.

Screens،t 2023 11 16 At 15.16.44 758x600
Screens،t 2023 11 16 At 15.21.09 800x453

Special treatment? Juozas Kaziukenas, CEO of e-commerce research firm Marketplace Pulse, told Insider:

  • “It’s clear Apple made a deal with Amazon that is not available to other ،nds.”
  • “I can’t recall any other ،nd with the same setup.”

Financial implications. It’s not yet been confirmed whether Apple paid Amazon to block ads by rivals from appearing on its ،uct pages. However, in emails shared by the House Judiciary Committee that date back to 2018, Amazon’s then-retail CEO Jeff Wilke suggested he had initially refused Apple’s request to block rival ads, writing:

  • “We cannot alter our ،ic search algorithm to return only Apple ،ucts in the search results when an Apple team is searched.”

He then appeared to offer an alternative solution for Apple:

  • “Apple would need to purchase these placements or compensate Amazon for the lost ad revenue.”

Amazon’s advertising unit, a significant driver of growth and profit earning over $38 billion last year, has been expanding ads on its platform, as per an FTC lawsuit. Given this context, Amazon’s deal with Apple to limit rival ads on its ،uct pages is particularly noteworthy.

Deep dive. Read our report on Amazon’s ‘secret ad pricing scheme’ for more information.