Amazon escaped a €1.1 billion fine for abuse of power in Italy.
The fine was imposed in December 2021, but Amazon appealed. After months of proceedings, the judges reached a new conclusion. Judicial institution TAR del Lazio recently announced that the penalty is off the table, allowing Amazon to go free.
The initial fine was based on an investigation by AGCM, Italy’s market authority. According to the AGCM, Amazon muscled sellers of Amazon.it in purchasing its logistics services. Sellers were given little or no leeway to collaborate with alternative providers. Amazon abused its dominant position at the expense of fair competition.
The AGCM sued the giant for abuse of power. Amazon immediately appealed. During the case, the organization’s defence focused on the fact that Amazon had been given insufficient time to defend itself. In addition, the defence pointed to a number of procedural errors in the AGCM’s investigation. In the end, Amazon was vindicated. The fine has been annulled.
Penalties are getting harsher
Italian media believe that regulators have insufficient resources to convict large companies. Firms like Amazon have the money and expertise required to fight long and hard. The latter urged the European Commission to introduce new, tighter market rules for large companies in recent months, including the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act.
Penalties for abuse of power are getting higher by the year. The European climate is much more unfavourable for big tech than it was a decade ago. Though Amazon escaped a fine this time, the case could have gone either way. Google paid more than €8 billion in fines over the past decade for abuse of power. Penalties are getting harsher and big tech increasingly spends its days in court.