EU Plans to Charge Amazon with Antitrust Abuse

Posted on June 11, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon with 4 Comments

The Wall Street Journal reports that the EU will soon bring antitrust charges against Amazon for its illegal treatment of third-party sellers.

The charges—which the EU identifies as a statement of objections—could come as soon as next week, the report claims, as the European Commission hones its case against the online retailing giant. And they come after a nearly two-year investigation.

The charges accuse Amazon of “scooping up data from third-party sellers and using that information to compete against them, for instance by launching similar products,” the Journal notes. “Amazon declined to comment. It has previously disputed that it abuses its power and size and said that retailers commonly sell their own private-label brands.”

But the Journal did its own investigation of Amazon as well and found that it does use data from third-party sellers to develop competing products in-house. This is reminiscent of Google’s similar illegal business behavior, in which it can see which third-party services are popular via its search data and then develop its own competition and redirect searches to them. Google has so far been fined $9 billion for its anticompetitive behavior in Europe.

And Amazon faces a similar antitrust battle in the United States, where the House Judiciary Committee, Justice Department, and Federal Trade Commission are all currently investigating the firm.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “EU Plans to Charge Amazon with Antitrust Abuse”

  1. red.radar

    Ok.... so amazon hires a third party analytics company and buys the data from them? I guess the key point is if the data was private to the reseller or if it’s public data anyone can access.

    we seem to be heading to a central question what level of participation can a platform company have in its own platform. We probably just need a policy instead of dancing around it.

  2. lvthunder

    What data does Amazon have? How many times that the item is purchased? How is this any different then a store brand at the grocery store?

  3. youwerewarned

    So Google and Amazon have simply updated the inside-information advantage of the church confessional. Will the Catholic Church press charges for trade secret infringement, or simply sell a little forgiveness EU-style?

  4. codymesh

    oh this is spicy, thank god for the EU