In this file photo, Thursday, April 16, 2020, the Amazon logo is seen in Douai, northern France (AP Photo / Michel Spingler, File)
European Union regulators filed antitrust charges Tuesday against Amazon, accusing the e-commerce giant of using its access to data from companies selling products on its platform to gain an unfair advantage over them.
The charges, filed two years after the bloc’s antitrust enforcement agency began searching the company, are the latest attempt by European regulators to curb the power of major tech companies The European Union Commissioner responsible for competition issues, Margrethe Vestager, has imposed antitrust fines on Google. That totaled nearly $ 10 billion and opened double antitrust investigations this summer at Apple. The European Union’s Executive Committee also opened a second investigation on Tuesday into whether Amazon favors product offerings and merchants who use its logistics system.
While US initially criticized the European Union for targeting US companies, it recently started taking a tougher stance on big tech as well, suing Google this year for abusing its dominance in internet search and advertising
The European Union investigation found that Amazon is accessing and analyzing real-time data from other vendors selling goods on its platform to help it determine which new products of its own to be launched and how they are priced and marketed, and Westager said that « appears to distort real competition. »
Investigators focused on the practice in France and Germany, the company’s two largest markets in the European Union, but Westager did not provide specific examples of merchants affected by Amazon’s behavior.
Risks have risen for retailers as many European countries have closed non-essential stores temporarily to try to contain the coronavirus pandemic, prompting more online shopping, as Amazon has a major presence.
Amazon faces a potential fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue worldwide that could be as high as $ 28 billion, based on 2019 earnings. The Seattle-based company has rejected the charges.
« We do not agree with the initial assurances of the European Commission and will continue to make every effort to ensure that it has an accurate understanding of the facts, » the company said in a statement, adding that it represents less than 1% of the global retail market. And that there are larger retailers in every country in which they operate under EU rules, they can respond to charges in writing and present their case in an oral hearing
It may take some time before a final decision is made as there are no deadlines for ending the antitrust case in the European Union
Vestager said that an analysis of millions of transactions and products listed on Amazon found that « very accurate, real-time business data » in product and third-party product listings and transactions were fed into Amazon’s retail business algorithms that identify new products to be launched, price, and supplier
Vestager said that regular retailers take a risk when they invest heavily to find new products, bring them to market and determine how much to sell.
« Our concern is that Amazon can avoid some of these risks by using the data it has access to, » she told reporters at a news conference in Brussels
She said the initial conclusion is that using the data, Amazon can focus on the best-selling products, « and this marginalizes third-party sellers and limits their ability to grow. »
The second European Union investigation will look at the criteria Amazon uses to determine which vendor product it chooses for its ‘Buy Box’ and its primary membership service, and whether that means they are getting preferential treatment through the company’s logistics and delivery
The Buy Box allows shoppers to add items directly to their shopping baskets that feature a single seller’s product even though many merchants may offer this item.
The second investigation excludes Italy because the country’s competition watchdog had already launched a similar investigation last year.
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to delve into climate and life science on a changing planet
Engage in respectful discussions about US elections on our dedicated Facebook page
Amazon.com, European Union, Competition law, Margrethe Vestager
World News – CA – European Union files antitrust charges against Amazon over data use
Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos
Vidéo du jour: