Amazon Deal With EU Gives Rivals More Website Real Estate


A new European Union-Amazon deal will force the retailer to alter its business practices.

The company has agreed to a settlement with regulators in Europe that will require Amazon to offer makers of rival products equal access to space on its website, The New York Times reported Thursday (Dec. 15), citing anonymous sources.

The agreement also blocks Amazon from using private information it gathers about independent merchants to inform its own product offerings, the report said. The settlement is scheduled to be announced officially on Dec. 20 and will apparently bring a pair of EU antitrust investigations to an end.

The deal is similar to concessions Amazon offered in July, which included offering fairer treatment to third-party sellers, and banning the use of nonpublic data to compete with merchants on its eCommerce marketplace.

Amazon declined to comment on the latest report, but a spokesperson added, “While we have serious concerns about the Digital Markets Act unfairly targeting Amazon and a few other U.S. companies, and disagree with several conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively with the Commission to address their concerns and preserve our ability to serve European customers and the more than 225,000 European small and medium-sized businesses selling through our stores.”

The agreement comes as several of Amazon’s Big Tech compatriots are facing similar investigations by the EU — and the advent of new tech regulations — leading these companies to offer concessions.

This week saw reports that Apple was preparing to let other app stores access its devices in Europe in response to those new rules. It could serve as a test run for a similar change to its iPhones and iPads in other nations, should the need arise.

This would change Apple’s long-running policy of only allowing apps from its own App Store and would permit users of its devices to download third-party apps and avoid both Apple’s restrictions and the commission it charges on payments.

The new EU laws — particularly the Digital Markets Act — are designed to boost the competitiveness of third-party app developers and bring consumers more choices.

As PYMNTS reported in July, the act sets obligations for large online platforms that function as digital market “gatekeepers” (i.e. those whose dominant online position makes them difficult for consumers to avoid) to ensure a fairer business environment and more services for consumers.

Google, meanwhile, has said that as part of its efforts to comply with the new rules, it was debuting a program to offer billing alternatives to users in the European Economic Area (EEA).

This will let developers of non-gaming apps offer users in the EEA an alternative to Google Play’s billing system to purchase digital content and services.