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posted by martyb on Friday December 10 2021, @06:53AM   Printer-friendly

Italian regulator fines Amazon $1.28 billion for abusing its market dominance:

Italy's antitrust authority (AGCM) has fined Amazon €1.13 billion ($1.28 billion) for "abuse of dominant position," the second penalty it has imposed on Amazon over the last month. Amazon holds a position of "absolute dominance" in the Italian brokerage services market, "which has allowed it to promote its own logistics service, called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)," the authority wrote in a (Google translated) press release.

According to the AGCM, companies must use Amazon's FBA service if they want access to key benefits like the Prime label, which in turn allows them to participate in Black Friday sales and other key events. "Amazon has thus prevented third-party sellers from associating the Prime label with offers not managed with FBA," it said.

The authority said access to those functions are "crucial" for seller success. It also noted that third-party sellers using FBA are not subject to the same stringent performance requirements as non-FBA sellers. As such, they're less likely to be suspended from the platform if they fail to meet certain goals. Finally, it noted that sellers using Amazon's logistics services are discouraged from offering their products on other online platforms, at least to the same extent they do on Amazon.

[...] In a statement to Engadget, an Amazon spokesperson said the company "strongly disagreed" with the decision and will appeal. It also noted that non-FBA sellers can use its Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) service, which gives them access to Prime benefits without having to use Amazon's logistics services.

We strongly disagree with the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) and we will appeal. The proposed fine and remedies are unjustified and disproportionate. More than half of all annual sales on Amazon in Italy come from SMBs, and their success is at the heart of our business model. Small and medium-sized businesses have multiple channels to sell their products both online and offline: Amazon is just one of those options. We constantly invest to support the growth of the 18,000 Italian SMBs that sell on Amazon, and we provide multiple tools to our sellers, including those who manage shipments themselves.

Previously:
Italy Fines Amazon, Apple $230M (€203M) Over Reseller Collusion


Original Submission

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Italy Fines Amazon, Apple $230M (€203M) Over Reseller Collusion 16 comments

Italy fines Amazon, Apple $230M over reseller collusion – TechCrunch:

Amazon and Apple have been hit with almost $230 million (€203M) in total fines by Italy’s antitrust authority — following an investigation into reselling of Apple and (Apple-owned) Beats kit on Amazon’s Italian ecommerce marketplace.

The authority says the alleged collusion decreased the level of discounts available to consumers buying Apple and Beats products on the Amazon Italy marketplace.

It has also ordered the tech giants to end the restrictions on resellers.

The AGCM announced the sanction today, saying its probe identified a restrictive agreement between the pair to block some “legitimate” resellers of Beats products on Amazon.it.

The fine breaks down into €134.5M (~$151M) for Amazon — and €68.7M (~$77.3M) for Apple.

The agreement in question was signed between the pair back in October 2018.

Per the AGCM’s press release, it found the agreement contained a number of contractual clauses which prohibited official and unofficial resellers of Apple and Beats products from using Amazon.it — with the restriction limiting the sale of Apple and Beats products on Amazon.it to Amazon itself and a number of resellers the authority says were “chosen individually and in a discriminatory way” — in violation of Art. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


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  • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @08:03AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @08:03AM (#1203528)

    third-party sellers using FBA are not subject to the same stringent performance requirements as non-FBA sellers

    Is this true? I find myself twice as likely to get a counterfeit from a non-FBA seller. Regardless, counterfeits are a serious problem for every item on Amazon.

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @12:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @12:19PM (#1203549)

      That has also been my experience. So much so that I will not order from any seller that is not "FBA". I'm curious what performance requirements they are talking about.

  • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @08:18AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @08:18AM (#1203529)

    This is antithetical to Italian culture

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday December 10 2021, @09:59AM (4 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 10 2021, @09:59AM (#1203538) Homepage Journal

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxXJ8Q2GCs4 [youtube.com]

    CNBC report on Amazon logistics. They've been working to solidify their position for years already, and they aren't stopping now. From chartering their own ships, to carry their own containers, to purchasing their own aircraft, to building new fulfillment centers, they're working hard to eliminate competition.

    While the CNBC report is US-centric, Amazon is not. The same things they are doing in the US will work globally.

    --
    Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @12:31PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @12:31PM (#1203552)

      I have mixed feelings on Amazon. I'd order from someone else but every time I do it simply takes 2 to 3 times longer to receive a product, communication is poorer, return policies are poorer, etc.

      I'm fully cognizant of the problems that a world wide Monopoly will bring, but Amazon's competitors aren't even in the same ballpark when it comes to performance.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @05:27PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @05:27PM (#1203611)

        I think the relevant questions should be is Amazon good for the consumer.

        The focus should not be on businesses. It should be on the consumer. Economies exist to serve the consumer not the producers. So that consumers can have the goods and services they demand.

        Regulators trying to make this about what's in the best interests of businesses is not good. That's not why economies exist.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @05:08PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @05:08PM (#1203603)

      No, they're working hard to compete. There is nothing wrong with outcompeting their competitors if they're legitimately doing a good job.

      There are still issues with Amazon though. For instance, verified purchaser doesn't mean that the address is verified or even that the same product was purchased. They should verify the address of each account that rates a product and have the option to filter for verified purchaser with verified address.

      But still. If anything, we need to remove things that restrict competition like the USPS mailbox monopoly. The USPS is a very inefficient organization and their monopoly is costly to consumers. It's amazing how we focus our attention on Amazon when the elephant in the room here is the USPS, how inefficient and entrenched they are, and how much their mailbox monopolies cost the consumer.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @05:14PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10 2021, @05:14PM (#1203606)

        (Same Poster)
        Also, Amazon's ability to search for, sort via various sort options, list, scroll through, and filter product reviews sucks. I should be able to list 100 per page if I wanted or even more and I should be able to more easily navigate through the different pages of reviews. Same goes with the product question section. So yes, Amazon needs some work and they do all this on purpose to make it more frustrating for us. But, amazingly, we criticize them for all the wrong reasons. We try to go after them in ways that would force them to be worse because of lazy competitors that cry that they don't want to work so hard to compete instead of trying to go after them in ways that would actually make them better. It's also amazing how democrats complain about how Europe is supposedly so much better than we are yet it's our hard working capitalistic model that give us all these powerful goods and services that the democrats want to kill. They want to make Amazon more lazy and expensive and less competitive so that they don't provide consumers with such goods and services and that's harmful to the consumers.

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