By Mauro Orru and Cecilia Butini

 

Italy's competition watchdog issued 1.13 billion euros ($1.28 billion) in fines to Amazon.com Inc. for alleged abuse of market dominance, saying it had harmed operators competing for e-commerce logistics services.

The Italian Competition Authority, or AGCM, said Thursday that Amazon had taken steps to promote its own logistics service, known as Fulfillment by Amazon, to strengthen its "position of absolute dominance" to the detriment of competing operators.

The fine, the latest in a series of antitrust decisions against big tech companies in Europe, stems from a probe that found Amazon had tied the use of its own logistics service to advantages such as Amazon Prime, which enhances online visibility for goods and services.

Amazon had therefore prevented third-party sellers who didn't use Amazon's logistics service from accessing Amazon Prime and other advantages essential to increase online visibility and sales prospects, AGCM said.

Competing marketplaces were also harmed as sellers who use Amazon's logistics service are dissuaded from offering their products on other platforms due to warehouse-storage costs, AGCM said.

The regulator has ordered Amazon to grant third-party sellers access to all sales and visibility privileges on its platform.

"We strongly disagree with the decision of the Italian Competition Authority and we will appeal. The proposed fine and remedies are unjustified and disproportionate," Amazon said in a statement.

The decision comes less than a month after AGCM issued more than $225 million in fines to Amazon and Apple Inc., saying they colluded to exclude legitimate resellers of Apple and Beats audio products from Amazon's Italian marketplace.

Italy's competition watchdog issued EUR20 million in fines to Apple and Alphabet Inc.'s Google in late November, saying they failed to provide clear and timely information on how they acquire and employ users' data for commercial purposes.

In July, Amazon was fined EUR746 million by a European Union privacy regulator for violations related to its advertising, the largest-ever fine under the EU's data-protection law.

 

Write to Mauro Orru at mauro.orru@wsj.com; @MauroOrru94 and Cecilia Butini at cecilia.butini@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 09, 2021 05:19 ET (10:19 GMT)

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