In an unusual turn of events, Apple is pointing fingers at Amazon.com saying several of the Apple products and accessories on their site are fake. They have even sued one vendor, who was not immediately available for comment. Apple says it bought more than 100 items from Amazon.com – the U.S. version of the site – and found that 90% of them were not original products, but were advertised as such.

But strangely, instead of going after Amazon, Apple is suing New York-based Mobile Star LLC, a vendor on Amazon. Apple also warns that some of these products are “life-threatening”, and that includes chargers and other accessories found to be fake.

Apple said:

“Unlike genuine Apple products, they are not subjected to industry-standard consumer safety testing and are poorly constructed with inferior or missing components, flawed design and inadequate electrical insulation. These counterfeits have the potential to overheat, catch fire and deliver a deadly shock to consumers while in normal use.”

Neatly sidestepping the issue of Amazon’s culpability in carrying these fake products, Apple said:

“Consumers, relying on Amazon.com’s reputation, have no reason to suspect the power products they purchased… are anything but genuine.”

The question is, why isn’t Apple forcing Amazon to take a fair share of responsibility in the matter? After all, when Alibaba faced the same issue with counterfeit products, everyone pointed a finger at the company rather than the sellers.

Isn’t this the same thing? “Fulfilled by Amazon” does not mean that Amazon will guarantee the genuineness of the product. It just means that the seller is using Amazon’s warehouse and shipping facilities. That’s how a marketplace model works, for that matter, and that’s how Alibaba operates as well.

So why does Amazon get preferential treatment over Alibaba in such matters?

For Amazon’s part, they’ve been as vociferous on this occasion as Jack Ma has been against counterfeits on Alibaba.

Says Amazon:

“Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.”

That’s almost exactly the same thing Jack Ma said earlier this year:

“Alibaba has zero tolerance for those who rip off other people’s intellectual property. [We are] 100% committed to leading the fight against global counterfeiting, online and offline.”

Then why is everyone jumping on Jack and not on Jeff? Is it because counterfeit products are more widespread on Alibaba? What about Apple finding that 90% of the products it bought on Amazon were fake?

The problem is, last year “A federal judge in Washington agreed with a jury decision that Amazon isn’t liable for copyright infringement when a third party sells fake products in its marketplace.”

We couldn’t find any comments from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on the matter, but they may be forthcoming considering the high-profile nature of this particular case of Apple Vs. Mobile Star LLC.

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