The EU Competition Commission has officially launched an Amazon antitrust investigation to investigate whether the company uses sales data to gain an unfair advantage over smaller marketplace sellers. The Commission says it will look at Amazon's deals with sellers on the market, and how Amazon uses data to choose which retailer to link to using the Buy Box on its site. The announcement comes on the same day that Amazon announced changes to its third-country deal in response to a separate antitrust investigation by German regulators.
"E-commerce stimulates retail competition and has led to more choice and better prices," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestagger. "We need to ensure that major online platforms do not eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior. So I decided to look very closely at Amazon's business practices and its dual role as a market and retailer to assess its compliance with EU competition rules. ] that it "will cooperate fully with the European Commission and will continue to work hard to support businesses of all sizes and to help them grow."
It is unclear how Amazon changes the agreement on services, announced today, will affect the EU's investigation. As part of the wide-ranging changes, Amazon agrees to give 30 days notice and reason before removing sellers from its platform, and traders will be able to take Amazon to court in their home countries instead of being forced to do so in Luxembourg. After Amazon announced the changes to take effect in 30 days, the German regulators agreed to stop their investigation.
Last September, European regulators announced they were looking at Amazon's preliminary data collection practices. "If you, like Amazon, get the data from the smaller retailers you host, which of course may be quite legitimate because you can improve your services for these smaller dealers, then you also use this data to do your own calculations? "
The investigation is the latest and potentially the last antitrust action that was discovered by Vestagger, who has been European Commissioner for Competition for the last five years. During his term, which must end in October, Vestager fines almost all major technology giants, including Google, Qualcomm and Facebook. Apple was also forced to pay $ 1
Updating July 17, 7:45 AM ET: Changes to the contract in response to the German investigation.