Italian regulators on Thursday fined Amazon an antitrust fine of 1.1 billion euros ($ 1.3 billion) for allegedly abusing its dominant market position, the latest action against US Big Tech in the EU .
US tech giants have been in the crosshairs of the European Union for their business practices.
In the latest salvo, the Italian competition watchdog said Amazon had abused its dominant position by promoting its own logistics service on its Italian platform to the detriment of third-party sellers who did not use it.
“The abusive strategy adopted by Amazon is particularly serious, because it is likely to discourage or even eliminate competition in the markets concerned,” the 250-page decision reads.
The move comes two weeks after the same authority fined Amazon € 68.7 million for violating EU laws through restrictions penalizing sellers of Apple and Beats products.
In the same action, Apple was ordered to pay 134.5 million euros.
As Europe advances in antitrust litigation, US regulators are closely monitoring its approach to big tech companies, after Washington pledged to step up scrutiny of the tech sector.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Italian watchdog said Thursday that third-party sellers who do not use Amazon’s logistics service are excluded “from a set of benefits essential to gain visibility and better sales prospects.”
These included better access to Amazon’s “most loyal, high-end customers” who use Amazon Prime, the e-commerce giant’s loyalty program.
In addition, a severe performance measurement system is reserved for sellers who do not use Amazon’s logistics system, which can lead, in the event of failure, to the suspension of the seller’s account.
“In doing so, Amazon has hurt competing e-commerce logistics service providers by preventing them from portraying themselves to online sellers as service providers of comparable quality to Amazon’s logistics,” the watchdog said, adding that such behavior had “worsened the gap between the power of Amazon and that of its competitors.
In its decision, the authority said it had imposed measures on Amazon subject to review by a monitor.
The company should grant selling privileges and visibility to all third-party sellers who meet fair and non-discriminatory standards of performance, and should decide and publish those standards, he said.
Last month, EU legislation to place unprecedented restrictions on how US tech giants do business cleared a significant first hurdle, with a European Parliament committee approving their version of the Digital Markets Act .
This would impose far-reaching rules on companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft.
These tech companies have been accused in various ways of stifling competition, not paying enough taxes, stealing media content, and threatening democracy by spreading false information.