BRUSSELS (Reuters) – in the Amazon, was the victim of an anti-trust investigation by the European Union on Wednesday over the use of the merchants ‘data, and the underscore regulators’ increasing focus on how technology companies operate, from information to the customer.
FILE PHOTO: the logo of The company, outside of an Amazon pop-up store in Berlin, Germany, on November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo
US-based tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have been in the regulatory spotlight, as anti-trust enforcers to investigate how they can use the information to boost their power on the market. A number of AMERICAN politicians, and one of Facebook’s co-founders have called for them to be broken.
The European Commission is looking for feedback from retailers and manufacturers, since September, Amazon’s role as a market place for vendors, and act as a competitor in response to a complaint by traders about Amazon’s business practices.
The Commission said its investigation would focus on the Amazon’s contracts with vendors and the use of the data, to select the winners of the “buy box”, which allows consumers to add items from a specific retailer, direct to the shopping cart.
The european Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, that it can fine companies up to 10 percent of its global sales, said that the issue was of crucial importance, as more and more Europeans are shopping online.
E-commerce has increased retail competition and brought more choice and lower prices. We need to make sure that the major online platforms will not eliminate these advantages by means of anti-competitive behaviour,” she said.
Amazon is said to be fully co-operate with the investigation by the european union. The company has reached a deal with the federal cartel office, on Wednesday called for a review of the terms and conditions of service of any third-party retailers as well.
Under the Amazon, on the terms and conditions of service for it on the website, the merchants of grant, in the Amazon, “royalty-free” rights to the use of different methods, their materials, technologies, trade names, trademarks, content, and product information.
The EU’s probe, has a number of parallels to be drawn with the Commission’s investigation of Google is to give you an illegal advantage in the search results, its own comparison shopping service, Ian Giles, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright, said.
“There are concerns about the world in which the competition authorities have failed to appreciate the market power that derives from the ownership of the data,” he said.
In Amazon’s case, he said, is that the Commission is required, in order to show the standard agreements with retailers was anti-competitive in one way or the other, causing the Amazon to be with the data to be used for the manipulation of the market, and the results of it, or that Amazon had it in one way or another to the abuse of a dominant market position.”
Politico reported last week that the EU would begin a probe.
The Commission has struggled to define the market in which Amazon operates in order to determine what competitive harm might be, the sources said.
She said that the issue was whether to look on Amazon, and in the overall market for retail sales, or in its own niche.
It would not be Amazon’s first run-in with the Commission’s decision. Two years ago, and was told to pay back taxes of about € 250 million ($280 million), Luxembourg with, as a result of the illegal tax benefits. That same year, he became the supervisor of the division involved and with e-book publishers in Europe.
- Amazon says that it will cooperate with EU antitrust regulators to probe
- The EU’s anti-trust regulators to examine Amazon over merchant information
The Commission considers that a stronger approach is to set a precedent for all other platforms provide a marketplace, as competing with their own products, and Ioannis Lianos, a professor of global competition law and public policy, University College London, said.
In order to send a strong message, the Commission considers that an infringement of competition law has been satisfied with Amazon, ” he said.
“I think the Commission will want to give a strong message, because it was one of the first things to resolve this problem,” Lianos said. “I feel, therefore, that the Commission’s interest is not to regulate, but to bring an infringement decision, the law is clear and set a precedent.”
Additional reporting by Phil Blenkinsop in Brussels and Sonya Dowsett in Madrid; Editing by Jane Merriman and Edmund Blair