Italy hits Amazon with € 1.1 billion antitrust fine
Italian regulators on Thursday fined Amazon an antitrust fine of 1.1 billion euros ($ 1.3 billion) for allegedly abusing its dominant market position, the latest action against US Big Tech in the EU . US tech giants have been in the crosshairs of the European Union for their business practices. In the latest salvo, the Italian competition watchdog said Amazon had abused its dominant position by promoting its own logistics department, which can ship and deliver packages, on its Italian platform to the detriment of sellers. third parties who have not used it. “The abusive strategy adopted by Amazon is particularly serious, as it is likely to discourage or even eliminate competition in the markets concerned,” reads the 250-page decision of the Italian Competition Authority. Amazon said it “strongly disagrees” with the decision and will appeal. “The fine and the proposed remedies are unwarranted and disproportionate,” the company said in a statement. The move comes two weeks after the same authority fined Amazon â¬ 68.7 million for violating EU laws through restrictions penalizing sellers of Apple and Beats products. In the same action, Apple was ordered to pay 134.5 million euros. As Europe advances in antitrust litigation, US regulators are closely monitoring its approach to big tech companies, after Washington pledged to step up scrutiny of the tech sector. “Raising the power of Amazon” The Italian watchdog said on Thursday that third-party sellers who do not use Amazon’s logistics service are excluded “from a set of essential benefits to gain visibility and better sales prospects “. These included better access to Amazon’s âmost loyal, high-end customersâ who use Amazon Prime, the e-commerce giant’s loyalty program. In addition, a severe performance measurement system is reserved for sellers who do not use Amazon’s logistics system, which can lead, in the event of failure, to the suspension of the seller’s account. “In doing so, Amazon has hurt competing e-commerce logistics service providers by preventing them from portraying themselves to online sellers as service providers of comparable quality to Amazon’s logistics,” the watchdog said, adding that such behavior had “worsened the gap between the power of Amazon and that of its competitors.” In its decision, the authority said it had imposed measures on Amazon subject to review by a supervisor. company must grant selling privileges and visibility to all third-party sellers who meet fair and non-discriminatory standards of performance, and must decide and publish those standards, he said. EU action Last month EU legislation to place unprecedented restrictions on the way America’s tech giants do business has cleared a major first hurdle, with a European Parliament committee endorsing their ve rsion of the law on digital markets. This would impose far-reaching rules on companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft. These tech companies have been accused in various ways of stifling competition, not paying enough taxes, stealing media content, and threatening democracy by spreading false information.