The European Union’s (EU) antitrust laws will be amended to codify Amazon’s pledges after the European Commission (EC) announced that it had struck an agreement with Amazon over a pair of antitrust inquiries.
In 2018, authorities began asking questions about whether or not Amazon was improperly using private information from third-party marketplace merchants on its platform to further its own competitive company. The main issue was that, as the marketplace owner, Amazon could optimise its own price and choose when to introduce new items based on big data insights, giving them an unfair edge.
A formal inquiry was launched the following year, and in 2020 the European Commission filed a Statement of Objections to Amazon directly. European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said at the time that Amazon was “illegally distorting” competition via its use of merchant data in its two largest European countries, France and Germany.
Simultaneously, the European Commission (EC) launched a second, unrelated inquiry into whether or not Amazon unfairly benefited its own company in the guidelines it applied to vendors hoping to appear in Amazon’s “buy box” and Prime reward programme. According to the Commission, Amazon unfairly prioritised its own goods and those of merchants who used its logistics and delivery services.
All other promises seem to expire after five years, but those related to Prime and the “purchase box” will be enforceable for seven. In the event that Amazon is found to have violated any of these agreements within that time period, it might be subject to a punishment of up to 10% of its worldwide revenue.
Just yesterday, the European Commission (EC) issued a preliminary finding that Facebook’s parent company Meta abused its dominant market position in the classifieds ads space, in violation of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the same treaty that Amazon is alleged to have violated.
Amazon acknowledged that it must alter its European business practises but maintained that it disagreed with the EC on some points.
After five years, all promises save those related to Prime and the “purchase box” will presumably no longer be binding. Amazon might be fined up to 10% of its annual worldwide sales if it is found to have broken any of these promises during that time.
As of yesterday, the European Commission (EC) had already issued a preliminary finding that Facebook’s parent company Meta abused its dominant market position in the classifieds ads space, in violation of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the same treaty that Amazon is accused of violating.
Amazon has acknowledged that it must alter its European business practises but has also said that it disagrees with the EC on some of the points it has raised.
“We are pleased that we have addressed the European Commission’s concerns and resolved these matters,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement. “While we continue to disagree with several of the preliminary conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively to ensure that we can continue to serve customers across Europe and support the 225,000 European small and medium sized businesses selling through our stores.”
Subtly charming pop culture geek. Amateur analyst. Freelance tv buff. Coffee lover