Amazon slapped with its biggest-ever fine

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Italy’s antitrust regulator has fined US e-commerce giant Amazon €1.13 billion ($1.28 billion) for abuse of its market dominance, in one of the biggest financial penalties introduced against a US company in Europe.

According to the Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), Italy’s anti-monopoly watchdog, Amazon had been adopting “harmful” practices and abusing its position in the country’s online retail logistics market. 

“Amazon holds a dominant position in the Italian market for intermediation services on marketplaces, which Amazon leveraged to favor the adoption of its own logistics service,” the regulator said in a statement on Thursday.

The AGCM said the company encouraged sellers on Amazon.it to use its own service – Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). The Italian watchdog pledged to impose corrective steps that will be subject to review by a monitoring trustee.

Amazon announced it “strongly disagreed” with the decision and vowed to appeal.

“The proposed fine and remedies are unjustified and disproportionate,” an Amazon spokesperson said, as quoted by CNBC.

Big Tech companies have been under scrutiny from state authorities across the globe following a series of accusations about user privacy and misinformation, and repeated complaints from small businesses that they abuse their market power.

US tech majors Amazon, Alphabet’s Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft have attracted focused attention from European regulators in recent years.

Last month, Amazon lost a European Union court bid to prevent the EU and Italy from running parallel antitrust probes launched over concerns about the way the firm treats merchants on its platform.

At the same time, Italy handed a $230 million fine to Amazon and Apple, accusing the corporations of anti-competitive cooperation in sales on Amazon’s Italian platform.

In July, the data protection commission of Luxembourg slapped the online retailer with a €746 million fine for processing personal data in violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

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