Niue and the EU

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct of Amazon

Brussels, 17/07/2019 - 11:49, UNIQUE ID: 190718_1
Press releases

EU News 129/2019

The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Amazon's use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace is in breach of EU competition rules.

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

When providing a marketplace for independent sellers, Amazon continuously collects data about the activity on its platform. Based on the Commission's preliminary fact-finding, Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information – about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace.

As part of its in-depth investigation the Commission will look into:

  • the standard agreements between Amazon and marketplace sellers, which allow Amazon's retail business to analyse and use third party seller data. In particular, the Commission will focus on whether and how the use of accumulated marketplace seller data by Amazon as a retailer affects competition.
  • the role of data in the selection of the winners of the “Buy Box” andthe impact of Amazon's potential use of competitively sensitive marketplace seller information on that selection. The “Buy Box” is displayed prominently on Amazon and allows customers to add items from a specific retailer directly into their shopping carts. Winning the “Buy Box” seems key for marketplace sellers as a vast majority of transactions are done through it.

 

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