Amazon is facing multiple antitrust investigations in Europe. The UK’s antitrust watchdog started a probe into Amazon’s marketplace on that same day that Germany announced its intention to further restrict the tech giant.
The UK investigation will first examine whether Amazon holds a dominant position in the market. If so, investigators determine whether it leverages that power to distort competition by giving its own sellers an unfair advantage over third parties on Amazon’s UK marketplace. The move follows ongoing investigations of Amazon by the European Union, from which the UK officially withdrew at the beginning of last year.
Because it is no longer required to refrain from duplicating investigations conducted by the Commission, the CMA — UK’s market regulator — has stepped in with its own inquiry. According to the regulator, there will be three key areas of investigation:
- How Amazon gathers and utilizes information about third-party sellers and, if doing so, offers it an unfair edge in business choices made by its retail division.
- How Amazon selects suppliers to appear in the “Buy Box”—a prominent feature displayed on product pages that gives buyers the option to “Buy Now” or “Add to Basket” in connection to products from a particular seller.
- How Amazon determines a seller’s eligibility for the Prime brand loyalty program, which grants members perks like free and quick delivery.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Amazon reportedly promised to share more data with rivals and provide customers with a greater selection of items to settle the EU’s case. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Amazon is prepared to exchange data and increase the accessibility of rivals’ offerings to avoid antitrust penalties. Despite Amazon’s efforts, the Commission has yet to decide on the outcome.