EU says Amazon breached antitrust rules; opens second investigation

This illustration picture taken on July 24, 2019 in Paris shows the logo of the US online store application Amazon on the screen of a tablet.

MARTIN BUREAU | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — The European Commission has concluded that Amazon breached European antitrust rules by using independent sellers’ data for its own benefit.

It has also announced a second formal investigation into the company’s e-commerce processes.

The decision comes after the Commission, which is the executive arm of the European Union, launched a probe into the online retailer in July 2019 on the back of concerns over anti-competitive behavior.

In a statement published Tuesday, the Commission said it took issue with Amazon using the business data of independent sellers on its marketplace to benefit its own retail business.

“Data on the activity of third-party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, said in the statement.

Amazon said it disagreed with the Commission’s assertions and “will continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts.” It said that it represents less than 1% of the global retail market.

“No company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon,” the e-commerce giant said.

The Commission’s second antitrust investigation will be into possible preferential treatment of Amazon’s own retail business over marketplace sellers that use its logistics and delivery services.

The company will have now the chance to examine the Commission’s conclusions and reply in writing or via an oral hearing.

This is a breaking news story and it is being updated.

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