Amazon fined $ 1.28 billion by Italian antitrust regulators
Packages move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon Cyber Monday fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, United States, Monday, November 29, 2021.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Amazon was fined 1.13 billion euros ($ 1.28 billion) Thursday by Italian competition regulators for abusing its dominant position in the market.
The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM, said Amazon has harmed competing operators in the e-commerce logistics service.
He concluded that Amazon had taken advantage of its dominance to encourage sellers on Amazon.it to use its own logistics service – Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
This was done “to the detriment of the logistics services offered by competing operators, as well as to strengthen its own dominant position”.
The AGCM said it will impose corrective actions that will be subject to the review of a supervisory administrator.
Amazon said it “strongly disagrees” with the fine and plans to appeal. “The fine and the proposed remedies are unwarranted and disproportionate,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC.
Amazon said more than 50% of all annual sales on its platform in Italy come from small and medium-sized businesses, adding that their success is key to Amazon’s business model.
“Small and medium-sized businesses have multiple channels to sell their products both online and offline: Amazon is just one option,” said Amazon spokesperson.
“We are constantly investing to support the growth of the 18,000 Italian SMEs that sell on Amazon, and we provide several tools to our sellers, including those who manage the shipments themselves.”
Ruhell Amin, global head of retail equity research at William O’Neil + Co, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Thursday that it was a “significant” fine for the trading giant electronic.
“It’s part of a larger trend we’ve seen in Europe to try to regulate some of these big tech companies,” he said.
Investor concern is that the Italian fine could signify a wider trend to more tightly regulate Amazon in other parts of its business as well, and in other parts of the world, Amin said. “It certainly appears to be the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
“This case is interesting because the European Commission has opened its own investigation into this practice but excluded Italy from the scope of the investigation to allow the Italian antitrust watchdog to proceed on its own,” Amin added. “Generally, the European Commission is quite unified in its approach.”
Elsewhere, Chinese regulators are cracking down on e-commerce giant Alibaba while Latin American regulators are targeting Mercado Libre.