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Germany’s antitrust watchdog announced that it has opened an investigation into whether Amazon, the US retail giant, is leveraging its market dominance in unfair and illegal ways. The Federal Cartel Office said that the first step for the watchdog will be to look into whether Amazon is “of outstanding, cross-market importance for competition.”

If the body finds that a marketing position of that nature exists, new rules for digital companies will give it the mandate to prohibit any behaviour it deems to be anti-competitive, at an early stage. Changes in the country’s digital laws for tech companies came into effect earlier this year.  

New rules in Germany

The changes give the Federal Cartel Office more power to identify and prohibit companies from taking dominant positions that could disadvantage other market players. The authority, based in Bonn, is already undertaking proceedings against the price control mechanisms used by the eCommerce giant.

Its relationships with third-party sellers selling on its site are also under scrutiny already. It is no secret that Amazon is a ruthless giant with ambitions to sell everything to everyone and has, in the past and present, been found in compromising situations.

A changing bloc

A spokesman for Amazon said that the company could not comment on the ongoing proceedings. In recent times, Europe has been changing its digital sphere, as it gears itself for the next digital age.

The concerns raised about privacy, competition, and the vast power held by big tech companies are all contributing to a stricter and more cautious approach in how digital markets are handled.

The new laws written for the EU are not as exhaustive as many would like and it is left to the concerned lawmakers to appeal for stricter regulations, to prevent tech companies from crossing lines they cross all too often.