If only we had a nickel for every big tech antitrust story this year.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s top antitrust official, brought new charges against Amazon yesterday for misconduct in France and Germany.
The European Commission has two main complaints:
firstAfter an investigation that began in July of 2019, the committee decided that Amazon was unlawfully exploiting its dual role as a marketer and retailer:
- Specifically, the report claims that Amazon collects non-public data on third-party sellers (such as purchase volume and revenue) to report what type of in-house products should be launched.
- In doing so, the committee claims that Amazon is avoiding the usual risks we see in the retail industry and “marginalizing outside vendors and limiting their ability to grow.”
Second: The European Union has opened a formal investigation to determine whether Amazon is giving preferential treatment to sellers who pay for Amazon’s logistics and delivery network.
- “What worries us is that Amazon may artificially push retailers to use its own related services, which lock them deeper into the Amazon ecosystem,” the statement said.
Response from Seattle: Amazon flatly denied the accusations and said it would work with the European Union “to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts.” They added, “No company is more interested in small business or has done more than Amazon has supported it over the past two decades.”
Earlier this year, Amazon Assistant General Counsel told Congress, “We are not using individual seller data directly to compete.” After a brief period , The Wall Street Journal He posted an article (citing 20 Amazon employees) claiming the company is doing just that. A critical day at HQ, without a doubt.
What do the experts say: Some legal analysts argue that Amazon’s behavior is not unusual for a retailer, and prosecutors will have to prove that Amazon’s tactics have reduced competition and pushed other retailers out of the market. High bar.
the fine: If Amazon is found to be in breach, the European Union could force it to change its business practices and could impose a fine of up to 10% of its annual global revenue – or up to $ 28 billion.