Business & Economy

EU accuses Amazon of breaching antitrust rules with misuse of retail data

Brussels, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- The European Commission on Tuesday accused Amazon of breaching EU antitrust rules by using non-public business data to obtain a competitive edge against independent users of its online marketplace.

The Commission’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said it had also opened a second investigation into allegations Amazon was giving preferential treatment to independent marketplace businesses that used Amazon logistics.

“We must ensure that dual role platforms with market power, such as Amazon, do not distort competition,” Vestager said in a statement.

“Data on the activity of third party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers. The conditions of competition on the Amazon platform must also be fair.

“Its rules should not artificially favor Amazon’s own retail offers or advantage the offers of retailers using Amazon’s logistics and delivery services.”

In the Statement of Objections sent to the American multinational, the Commission recalled that Amazon’s online marketplace serves both as a platform for its products and for third party competitors to sell to consumers.

The Commission accuses Amazon of collecting data on those independent retailers, including the sales and revenue figures, to give itself an advantage.

The EU body said its “preliminary findings show that very large quantities of non-public seller data are available to employees of Amazon’s retail business and flow directly into the automated systems of that business.”

Those systems then “aggregate these data and use them to calibrate Amazon’s retail offers and strategic business decisions to the detriment of the other marketplace sellers,” according to the Commission.

“For example, it allows Amazon to focus its offers in the best-selling products across product categories and to adjust its offers in view of non-public data of competing sellers,” the statement read.

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