EU to Launch Antitrust Probe into Amazon, Leading to a Potential $23 Billion Fine
With Amazon Prime Day out of the way for Amazon, it seems the good news for the company is over and a period of unrest is about to begin. The European Commission recently announced it would be launching a formal investigation into Amazon, to discover whether Amazon’s use of the data it collects from independent retailers on its marketplace is being used to gain a leg up over other companies.
If found guilty of breaching EU competition rules, the company could be fined as much as $23 billion - no small sum.
“Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is leading the investigation, said in a statement on Wednesday that she would be taking a "very close look" at Amazon's "dual role." The main concern for regulators is whether the company is so dominant that it's impossible for others to compete.” (Business Insider)
Amazon has stated it will cooperate fully with the European Commission, while continuing to work hard to support businesses of all sizes.
Preliminary work on the Amazon investigation began last year, with Amazon apparently using competitively sensitive information about its sellers and their products and transactions. The investigation will focus specifically on the agreements between Amazon and its sellers, as well as how the company’s use of this data affects competition.
Amazon isn’t facing heat just in the EU however, as Vox reported that the US FTC had also started questioning Amazon’s rivals about its business practices, including information around its third-party sellers and how the company competes with them.
Overall, it sounds like the company is in a spot of hot water, though it remains to be seen whether the company is indeed guilty of these breaches of competitive law.
What do you think? Is Amazon taking unfair advantage of the data it has access to? Share your thoughts on the story below.