Amazon to face formal antitrust charges by European Union for use of third-party seller data

The European Competition Authority is finalizing an anti-trust statement of charges against Amazon for what it considers to be irregular and abusive practices against small companies that use the US giant’s platform to sell their products.

According to the Wall Street Journal, after nearly two years of investigation, the EU could file the charges next week. The European regulator suspects that Amazon, with its dual role as a marketplace for third parties and seller of its own merchandise, collects data and confidential information from those SMEs and merchants to compete with them by launching similar products.

The world’s largest online retailer is one of several technology platforms facing intense scrutiny from the European Union’s powerful competition watchdog. Regulators are struggling to define how to act against large online companies that can mislead when they set the rules for a platform that is also home to rivals.

Amazon set for EU antitrust charge

The company led by Jeff Bezos has repeatedly refused to engage in such practices. That is also part of a broader investigation by the US Department of Justice and the country’s trade regulator (FTC). As the platform operator, Amazon collects data on successful products and user demand, which can help the company get ahead of smaller sellers. It is also increasingly promoting its own brand products that are similar to the best-sellers offered by others.

In the summer of last year, when the EU announced the opening of a formal investigation against Amazon. The European Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said. “E-commerce has fueled competition in retail, expanded choice opportunities, and reduced prices. We must ensure that large online platforms do not eliminate these benefits with anti-competitive behavior.”

If the European Union does end up ruling against Amazon, the case would still go on for many months. Moreover, it could force Amazon to modify its business model. And fine it with up to 10% of its annual turnover.


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