EU slams Amazon with antitrust suit
The European Union has hit Amazon with charges of violating antitrust legislation by using data from third-party sellers to compete against them.
Valentina Pop and Sam Schechner reported the news for the Wall Street Journal:
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -3.46% faces fresh legal battles with the European Union after the bloc charged the online retailer with violating competition law in a new salvo in its scrutiny of U.S. tech corporations.
The European Commission—the bloc’s top antitrust enforcer—issued a charge sheet against Amazon alleging that the company uses nonpublic data it gathers from third-party sellers to unfairly compete against them.
Emily Nicolle from Financial News wrote:
Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters on 10 November that a preliminary conclusion found Amazon has “illegally abused” its dominant position in Germany and France, distorting competition in online retail markets.
The 2019 investigation explored whether Amazon’s alleged use of sensitive data, collected from independent retailers on its e-commerce marketplace, to inform its own product strategy is harming competition. It centred on Amazon’s dual role as both a retailer that sells its own goods, and a marketplace for third-party merchants.
CNN’s Hanna Ziady noted:
Amazon took issue with the findings. “We disagree with the preliminary assertions of the European Commission and will continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts,” the company said in a statement.
More than 70% of online shoppers in France and more than 80% in Germany have bought something on Amazon in the last 12 months, according to Vestager. “We do not take issue with the success of Amazon or its size, our concern is the very specific business conduct that appears to distort competition,” she said.