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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