Did the competition start? Amazon threatens billions of fine | Free Press

Brussels (dpa) – Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is violating antitrust regulations, according to the EU’s competition watchdog.

The company is accused of systematically using non-public commercial data of independent distributors for its own retail business, announced the responsible EU Commission in Brussels.

According to the authority, Amazon now has the opportunity to comment on the objections. If competing watchdogs stick to their assessment, Amazon could face a $ 1 billion fine. If companies violate EU competition rules, they run the risk of being fined up to ten percent of their annual global sales. Amazon’s revenue in 2019 was approximately $ 280.5 billion.

EU competition authorities launched an investigation into potentially illegal business practices in July 2019. Above all, they are investigating the question of whether the group is unfairly competing with other retailers using its platform.

This is possible because Amazon not only sells products itself as a retailer, but also makes its website available as a platform for other retailers.

Regarding the objections, the EU Commission now writes that the results of the investigation showed that the employees of the Amazon retail store have very large amounts of non-public seller data available, which flows directly to the automated systems of the store, where they are added and used. to balance end customer offerings and Amazon’s strategic business decisions. This is to the detriment of the other sellers in the market.

Amazon could, for example, focus its offerings on those products in a category that sold the best and tailor its offers based on non-public data from competing sellers.

“Amazon should not use data on the activities of independent sellers for its own benefit if the company competes with these sellers,” said Margrethe Vestager, responsible vice president of the EU Commission. The competitive conditions on the Amazon platform must be fair.