Italian antitrust officials fined Amazon 1.13 billion euros ($1.28 billion) on Thursday for abusing its market dominance.
Amazon has injured competitors in the e-commerce logistics sector, according to the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM.
It was decided that Amazon took advantage of its market dominance to induce vendors to sell on Amazon.
Amazon’s own logistics service, Fulfillment by Amazon, will be used (FBA).
This was done “to the detriment of the logistics services offered by competing operators, as well as to strengthen its own dominant position.”
AGCM stated that it will take corrective actions that will be reviewed by a monitoring trustee.
Amazon has stated that it “strongly disagrees” with the sentence and intends to fight it. An Amazon spokeswoman told CNBC that “The proposed fine and remedies are unjustified and disproportionate.”
Amazon claims that small and medium-sized businesses account for more than half of all annual sales on its platform in Italy, and that their success is critical 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 of those options,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
“We constantly invest to support the growth of the 18,000 Italian SMBs that sell on Amazon, and we provide multiple tools to our sellers, including those who manage shipments themselves.”
On Thursday, William O’Neil + Co’s global head of retail stock research, Ruhell Amin, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” that the fine is “significant” for the e-commerce giant.
“It’s part of a broader trend that we’ve seen in Europe around trying to regulate some of these Big Tech companies,” he explained.
Investors are concerned that the Italian penalties could signal a larger trend toward more stringent regulation of Amazon in other sectors of its company and around the world, according to Amin. He stated, “This certainly seems like the tip of the iceberg.”
“This case is interesting because the European Commission opened its own probe into this practice but carved Italy out of the scope of the investigation to allow Italy’s antitrust watchdog to proceed on its own merit,” Amin added. “Typically the European Commission is quite unified in its approach.”
Regulators in China are investigating e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, while regulators in Latin America are targeting Mercado Libre.