Tech

Amazon faces probe from Italy's antitrust authority over abuse of market position

Key Points
  • Italy's competition authority announced on Tuesday it will begin a preliminary investigation into whether Amazon abused its dominance in e-commerce and logistics services.
  • The watchdog said it was considering whether Amazon granted third-party vendors that participated in its own logistics service an advantage over other sellers not involved in the service.
  • Amazon is facing increasing regulatory scrutiny around the world.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pictured in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 1, 2018.
Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Italy's competition authority announced on Tuesday it will begin a preliminary investigation into whether Amazon abused its dominance in e-commerce and logistics services.

The watchdog said it will investigate five companies of the Amazon group: Amazon Services Europe, Amazon Europe Core, Amazon EU, Amazon Italia Services and Amazon Italia Logistica.

In press release, the Italian authority said it was specifically considering whether Amazon granted third-party vendors that participated in its own logistics service an advantage over other sellers not involved in the service.

Amazon is facing increasing regulatory scrutiny around the world over its dominance in the online shopping and search markets.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told CNBC last month the EU could announce a formal investigation into the tech giant over its use of data on its third-party merchants. U.S. lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Richard Blumenthal have also called out Amazon for antitrust practices.

Italian officials began preliminary inspections into some of the offices of the Amazon companies on Tuesday, the authority said, adding the investigation will be completed in one year.

"We are fully cooperating with the Authority," a spokesperson from Amazon told CNBC Tuesday.