Amazon faces E.U. antitrust scrutiny over the current e-commerce use of merchant data.
Olivia London

2019-08-16 17:37:00 Fri ET

Amazon faces E.U. antitrust scrutiny over the current e-commerce use of merchant data. The European Commission probes into whether Amazon uses key third-party seller data to promote its products to the detriment of other retailers. This antitrust investigation serves as an incremental step toward better characterizing Amazon e-commerce business practices. The current preliminary inquiry helps reveal how tech titans such as Amazon may use customer information to reinforce their market power.

The core concern arises from negative feedback from European third-party sellers, retailers, and manufacturers that Amazon has been trying to abuse its dual role as a direct e-commerce competitor and also as an online marketplace for merchants. Under the current Amazon terms of service for Europe, third-party sellers and other merchants grant Amazon royalty-free rights to use their own product information, content, technology, and trademark design. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager argues that global e-commerce platforms should not eliminate consumer benefits such as better product prices and broader choices through anti-competitive business practices. E.U. regulators can impose fines up to 10%-15% of global sales; however, some antitrust experts indicate the essential need for the European Commission to establish a new precedent of key industry standards and best practices for cross-border e-commerce.

 


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