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Europe launches official investigation against the Amazon monopoly

The European Regulators have launched antitrust investigations by examining the legitimacy of the use of data from Amazon, which belonged to third parties and sold through its e-commerce platform.

Commenting on a statement, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said:European consumers are increasingly buying electronics. E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more options and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms do not eliminate these benefits through immoral behavior. Therefore, we decided to look very carefully at Amazon's business practices and its dual role as a retailer and retailer in order to assess its compliance with EU competition rules.»

Amazon Europe

The move is no surprise as Amazon has long been in goal of the law.

In particular, last autumn, the Regulatory Authority conducted preliminary investigations into the use of Amazon's third-party vendor data to determine whether merchants selling on the platform are in a competitive disadvantage over the products Amazon sells.

The "dual role" platforms - which host vendors in platform and sell themselves - ask questions about what happens to them third party data.

On the basis of the Commission's preliminary investigation, Amazonappears to be using competitive ones information  about market sellers, their products and their trading on the platform». While it is worth noting that this is a preliminary conclusion and does not prejudge the outcome of the formal investigation.

The Commission has stated that the thorough investigation of Amazon's practices will focus on:

  • In the agreements signed between Amazon and third party sellers, saying that it will focus more specifically on the question "if and how the use of data third-party vendors from Amazon as a retailer affect competition ”
  • the role played by the data in selecting the winners of the 'Buy Box' and the impact of the possible use of sensitive third party vendor information by the giant for this choice.

The Buy Box refers to a coveted part of it website of Amazon where consumers who see a product can click to add it to their shopping cart.

The seller (s) whose products have the most clicks are likely to gain an advantage over competing sellers of the product.

Amazon Europe

In response to the Commission's communication on the formal investigation, an Amazon representative sent this statement:We will work fully with the European Commission and we will continue to work hard to support businesses of all sizes and to help them grow».

Yesterday, the giant was among many companies questioned by their lawmakers USA about the concerns of the monopoly.

Earlier this year, the EU institutions have also come to an end in agreement on new regulations aimed at enhancing transparency with regard to online platform businesses and to reduce unfair practices to support merchants and other digital retailers based on sales.

The new rules on fairness and transparency of online platforms may enter into force at EU next year.

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