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Antitrust investigation of Amazon in the EU for use of market traders data



An Amazon warehouse and logistics center in Rheinberg, Germany in 2018.
Photo: Martin Meissner (AP)

The European Union plans The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday on an antitrust investigation by e-commerce giant Amazon about the treatment of third-party vendors who rely on the company's market to sell goods.

According to the Journal, the EU investigation follows an agreement between Amazon and the German authorities about third party providers that has resulted in the company agreeing to change parts of its Terms of Use, including a notification 30 days before the closure of accounts and a "Reduction of Confidentiality for Sellers". EU investigators are specifically interested in whether Amazon "abused its dual role as a seller of its own products and market operators," the newspaper wrote – such as whether the company reaps data from independent traders for the purpose of taking over business:

EU investigation examines whether Amazon uses nonpublic data from independent traders to compete against them in unfair competition. Investigators also examine what data Amazon uses to select a seller as the default option for a particular product when a user clicks the Buy button – and Amazon has an unfair advantage – as the default for the products they sell become.

The investigation could eventually lead to formal charges, fines and orders for the company to change business practices, but it could also be dropped.

A European Commission official told the magazine that the German authorities had reached an agreement but that the EU investigation was not "Other countries like Italy are complementary, but do not overlap". Reports from September 2018, when the investigation began, showed that the EU had found no evidence of misconduct, and Nicolas Petit, professor for competition law at the University of Liège, informed the paper that it would be anticompetitive if the investigators were very high To prove the use of such data by Amazon.

Amazon and its third-party distributors have never had the best relationships, the latter complaining about unfair contracts, disputes over advertising products that make the platform out of money, and reports of cutthroat competition between sellers trying to do business each to sabotage others. Manufacturers have also reported that Amazon is pushing marketplace vendors into the wholesale supply chain, where they can control prices, and vice versa.

At the same time, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appears to have referred to the third-party marketplace to prove that the company should not be subject to antitrust lawsuits. Despite controlling an estimated 38 percent of online retail sales in the US (and a smaller but leading share in Europe), Bezos claimed earlier this year that Amazon remains "a small player in the global retail space" and that "third parties are doing business in to force the knees. " Butt of the first party. Bad. "According to the Journal, Bezos indicated that its direct sales last year totaled $ 117 billion, while sellers raised $ 160 billion.

Amazon declined to tell the Journal whether it used "aggregated data from multiple sellers", but one spokesperson said, "We will fully cooperate with the European Commission and continue to work hard to support and support companies of all sizes help them grow. "

[Wall Street Journal]


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