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Italy Serves Amazon a $1.3 Billion Antitrust Fine

Italian regulators served Amazon a $1.3 billion fine for their presence in the market. Credit: Public Domain

Mega retailer Amazon was hit with a $1.3 billion antitrust fine from Italian regulators on Wednesday.

The Italian Competition Authority found that the company had wielded too much power in the market and hurt other independent third-party sellers.

The watchdog found that Amazon was forcing these third-party sellers to use the company’s own logistics service, Fulfilment by Amazon, which hurt the smaller sellers while contributing to the corporation’s dominance.

Europe–Italy especially– has sought to regulate American big tech companies since they have arrived overseas. In fact, the same group of regulators had leveled a $77.6 million fine against both Amazon and Apple for a separate offense connected to penalizing sellers offering the Apple and Beats items on the platform.

Google also famously suffered multiple billion-dollar antitrust fines from European countries in the past several years.

“The abusive strategy adopted by Amazon is particularly serious, since it is likely to discourage, if not eliminate competition in the relevant markets,” Italian regulators wrote in a 250-page decision.

Amazon immediately responded to the decision, saying they “strongly disagreed” with the regulator’s findings, and that “the proposed fine and remedies are unjustified and disproportionate.”

The Italian watchdog noted that if a third-party seller refuses to use Fulfillment by Amazon, their business suffers immensely. The regulators said that the sellers are left out of “a set of advantages essential for obtaining visibility and better sales prospects,” including the ability to reach Amazon Prime users, the most loyal and frequent customers on the retail platform.

Amazon Web Services invests in Greece

Amazon Web Services announced last Thursday that it will be creating 30 new AWS Local Zones across the world– including in Greece.

AWS Local Zones are a form of AWS infrastructure deployment that provides computation, storage, and other cloud services closer to customers, which allows them to run applications using AWS so that their end users can experience their products faster.

Amazon executives had a meeting with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday to discuss the plan.

The discussion was held online with AWS Vice President for Global Public Policy Michael Punke, who congratulated the prime minister on the great strides that Greece has made in a very short space of time.

Mitsotakis stressed that Greece is changing rapidly and becoming a hub for investments in high technology. He said it was very encouraging that major global players were choosing Greece as a place to establish a permanent presence.

He said the investment was “one more vote of confidence in the prospects of the Greek economy” and spoke about the great efforts being made for the digitalization of the Greek state.

“We have a ‘cloud first’ policy and we intend to establish Greece as a center for data storage. The government is fully aligned to support this vision and I am very happy that you are responding to this and that you will significantly increase your presence in Greece,” he said.


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