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Amazon fined $ 1.3 billion in Italian antitrust case

Italian competition regulator fines Amazon.com Inc.

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$ 1.3 billion, saying it hurt competitors by favoring third-party sellers who use the company’s logistics services.

The regulator found that Amazon favored sellers in Italy who paid it to use its warehouse and delivery services, including making them more likely to appear as the default option, or “Buy Box,” when consumers click to purchase a product.

Italy’s € 1.13 billion fine is part of a wave of antitrust enforcement in Europe and elsewhere against Amazon and other big tech companies for allegedly abusing their dominant position to crush more competitive competitors. small.

Companies including Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.

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Over the past two years, Meta Platforms Inc.’s Google and Facebook have been the subject of formal investigations, charges or fines in various cases filed by the European Union and countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The companies have denied the wrongdoing.

In addition to the fine, the Italian regulator ordered Amazon to offer “fair and non-discriminatory standards” for ads from third-party sellers, which it would monitor through a designated agent.

In Italy, the antitrust regulator can fine a company up to 10% of its annual turnover, although the final figure depends on where the abuses occurred and how long. A spokeswoman said the fine could be the largest ever imposed by the regulator,

Amazon called the fine and the remedies described by Italian authorities “unwarranted and disproportionate” and said it would appeal. In the Italian legal system, if the first court confirms the fine and appeals, the company can again appeal to a higher court. The court can also decide to reduce the fine or adjust the changes that Amazon is required to make.

CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google faced tough questions and, at times, hostile criticism of their business practices during a House antitrust hearing. The session highlighted how four of the five most valued U.S. companies are scrutinized from both sides of the aisle. Photo: US House Judiciary Committee / Reuters

Write to Eric Sylvers at eric.sylvers@wsj.com and Sam Schechner at sam.schechner@wsj.com

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