The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) on Thursday fined Amazon more than a billion euros for abusing its dominant market position in Italy and breaking EU law.
Imposing the fine of more than 1.1 billion euros (1.3 billion dollars) on the technology giant, AGCM said Amazon had abused its position as an intermediary for logistics services on its own platform and, in so doing, had harmed other service providers and suppliers.
According to the AGCM statement, the specific issue at stake was the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) service, where the company offers to take over shipping logistics for sellers.
According to AGCM, use of the service gave sellers advantages elsewhere on the sales platform, including better customer visibility and the possibility of labelling their products part of Amazon Prime, something seen as crucial for driving sales on Amazon's Italian website.
According to the competition authority, Amazon also applied stricter quality controls on sellers who did not use the FBA service, which in some cases led to accounts being blocked.
Overall, Amazon had harmed competing logistics companies by effectively forcing them to use their service, the authority added.
At the same time, it said, other sales platforms were also negatively impacted when sellers were effectively forced to use Amazon to ensure sales.
The size of the fine was a reflection of the extent and duration of Amazon's market abuse as well as of the size of the technology giant, the AGCM said.
In order to avoid such issues in the future, behavioural measures that are to be monitored by a trustee were imposed on the group.
From now on, Amazon must ensure that every seller - regardless of whether that person uses the group's shipping logistics or not - has access to the same privileges and enjoys the same visibility as its competitors.