Antitrust officials in Italy fined Amazon $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion). The corporation is accused of abusing its dominance in the online shopping sector to persuade Italian retailers to utilize its Fulfillment by Amazon logistics service (FBA). The ruling will be appealed, according to Amazon.
As part of a years-long dispute over internet antitrust issues, the fine is one of the highest ever imposed by a single country in the EU. Italian antitrust regulators penalized Amazon and Apple last month for allegedly collaborating to limit the supply of Apple and Beats items. However, Amazon’s sanction was only $77 million (€69 million) – a drop in the bucket compared to today’s ruling. (The lawsuit is still being contested by both companies.)
AMAZON PUSHED SELLERS TO USE ITS LOGISTICS SERVICES, ITALY SAYS.
The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM, is particularly concerned with the benefits Amazon provides to sellers on its platform who also pay to use its FBA logistics service in its new verdict. FBA sellers can use the Prime fulfillment label on their products and participate in Amazon events like Black Friday, Prime Day, and Cyber Monday.
“The investigation has determined that these are Amazon.it platform features that are critical for vendors’ performance and sales growth,” the ACGM said in a statement (translated via Google).
“As a result, Amazon has damaged competitor e-commerce logistics operators by barring them from pitching themselves to online sellers as providers of services equivalent to Amazon’s fulfillment.” As a result of these actions, the power gap between Amazon and the competition has expanded in the e-commerce order delivery market.”
The scale of the fine, according to the ACGM, demonstrates the seriousness of Amazon’s approach and its long-term nature. In addition to paying the penalties, Amazon must adjust its business practices in Italy by providing the same “sales and visibility advantages” to all third-party merchants on its platform, regardless of whether they use Fulfillment by Amazon. Amazon has a year to comply with these decisions — unless it wins its appeal.
“We strongly disagree with the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) and will appeal,” the company said in a statement (via Engadget). The proposed fine and remedies are exorbitant and unwarranted.”