EU Plans Antitrust Charges Against Amazon Over Treatment of Third-Party Sellers
Amazon.com Inc. is about to face antitrust charges from the European Union over the firm’s treatment of third-party sellers within the next two weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The European Commission has been “honing its case” and has been “circulating a draft of the charge sheet for a couple of months,” according to people familiar with the matter.
Following a nearly two-year investigation, the EU plans to accuse Amazon of abusing data from third-party sellers to compete directly against them, such as by launching similar products.
Amazon has used such restricted data to create reports that may be used for developing competing products under its own Amazon brand, according to its former workers.
The company might have mislead Congress in sworn testimony last year when an executive denied using “individual seller data directly to compete” with others on the platform.
The firm also faced antitrust probes from the House Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
Amazon could face a fine of nearly 10% of its annual revenue if it is found to have violated EU antitrust law.
Margrethe Vestager, the EC’s vice president in charge of competition and digital policy, pointed out the vital power of the commission to regulate such dominant businesses.
“Our competition enforcement has taught us a lot about the sort of behavior by dominant platforms that can stop the markets which they regulate from working well,” said Ms. Vestager. “And we can draw on that experience to design regulations that clearly set out what those platforms can do with their power - and what they can’t.”