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EU Anti-trust Commissioner opens new investigation into possible anti-competitive behavior of the Amazon



As we await the announcement of another formal investigation by Apple and the App Store, which is monopolistic on the basis of a Spotify complaint, the European Commission has decided to first open a formal anti-trust investigation to assess whether Amazon's use of sensitive data from independent dealers selling at their marketplace is in violation of EU competition rules.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for the competition policy, said: "European consumers are increasingly trading online. E-commerce has increased the retail competition and brought more choices and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms do not eliminate These benefits are through competitive behavior. I have therefore decided to look carefully at Amazon's business practices and its two roles as a marketplace and reseller to consider that it complies with EU competition rules. "

Amazon has a dual role platform: (i) it sells products on its website as a reseller, and (ii) it provides a marketplace where independent sellers can sell products directly to consumers.

When offering a market for independent sellers Amazon continuously collects data on activity on the platform. Based on the Commission's preliminary conclusion, Amazon appears to use competitive sensitive information ̵

1; on the market

As part of its thorough investigation, the Commission will look at:

the standard agreement between Amazon and the marketplace sellers, who allows the Amazon retail to analyze and use third-party merchant data. In particular, the Commission will focus on whether and how the use of accumulated marketplace vendor data from Amazon as a dealer affects the competition.

The role of data in the selection of the winners of the "Buy Box" and the impact of Amazon's potential use of competitive sensitive marketplace vendor information on this choice. The "Buy Box" appears prominently on Amazon, allowing customers to add items from a particular retailer directly into shopping carts. Winning the "Buy Box" seems the key to marketplace sellers as a large majority of transactions are made through it.

If proven, the practices examined may violate the EU competition rules on competition competition agreements between companies (Article 101 of the European Founding Treaty) and / or abuse of a dominant position (Article 102 TFEU).

The Commission will now carry out its thorough investigation as a priority target.

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