Apple struck a deal with Amazon to strip competitors’ ads off of pages for iPhones, iPads MacBooks, and its other products, according to a report from Insider. The agreement makes search results and product pages for Apple devices cleaner than those of competitors.
While Amazon still lists competing products on search result pages for Apple products, it limits the ads it sticks above, below, and between results. For example, when you search for an iPhone 15 on Amazon, you’ll only see an Apple product in a banner at the top of the page along with another ad banner at the very bottom. Meanwhile, searches for competing devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S23, surface ads for other products and services throughout the results page.
In addition to cleaning up Apple’s search results, Insider points out that Amazon cuts down on the ads for Apple’s product pages as well. Instead of advertising “products related to this item” and items rated “4 stars and above,” the pages for Apple products are relatively ad-free. The same can’t be said for product pages from companies like Samsung, which are often stuffed with recommended items from other brands lower down the page.
The ad-free pages stem from a 2018 agreement Apple made to sell its products on Amazon, according to Insider. In an email previously released by the House Judiciary Committee, Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s former retail chief, wrote, “We understand that Apple does not want to drive sales to competing brands in search or detail pages… On product detail pages, we understand that Apple does not want to see any product placement that recommends non-Apple products.”
Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz confirmed the arrangement to The Verge, stating that it limits advertising in spaces with certain Apple-related queries. It’s still not clear if Apple compensates Amazon for the ad space it’s hogging — and if so, how much. After all, Wilke’s email to Amazon said, “Apple would need to purchase these placements or compensate Amazon for the lost ad revenue.”
The “junk” ads Amazon places around its marketplace are one of the behaviors the Federal Trade Commission points to in its antitrust lawsuit against the company, stating that it extracts “billions of dollars through increased advertising despite worsening its services for customers.” By mostly avoiding them, Apple could have a leg up on other retailers on Amazon.