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The European Commission has opened a formal competition investigation into Amazon. The Commission would like to know whether the use of sensitive data from independent sellers selling via the Amazon web shop is in breach of EU competition rules.

Amazon is a webshop that sells its own products. However, the platform is also a place where independent sellers can sell their goods. In that case, the Internet giant collects data about the activity on the platform. The European Commission is now stating on the basis of the first facts found that Amazon appears to be using competition-sensitive information about the sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace, reports ZDNet.

Retaining the benefits of e-commerce

According to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, e-commerce has brought many benefits to the market, including increased competition, more choice and better prices.

We must ensure that large online platforms do not allow these benefits to disappear through anti-competitive behaviour. That is why I have decided to look more closely at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as a marketplace and retailer to see whether it complies with EU competition rules.

The study also looks at the standard agreements between the webshop and the sellers, which allow Amazon to analyse and use the data of sellers. The European Commission also wants to know whether the use of the collected salesperson data has an impact on competition.

Buy Box

Amazon’s website features a Buy Box prominently on the website. The European Commission is now also investigating this aspect. The Commission wants to know what role the data plays in deciding who gets into the Buy Box, and what the impact is of the possible use of competition-sensitive information for that selection.

Winning the Buy Box seems to be important to sellers on Amazon. A large part of the transactions come through this box.

The European Commission’s research is a high priority. However, the opening of a formal investigation does not indicate the outcome and there is no legal deadline for the Commission to comply with. Amazon has indicated its full cooperation with the Commission.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.