Amazon Ends EU Antitrust Probes With Settlement

Amazon EU

Amazon has reached a settlement in a pair of European antitrust probes against the retailer.

The agreement, announced Tuesday (Dec. 19), includes a concession by Amazon to give third-party sellers more space on its site.

“Today’s decision sets new rules for how Amazon operates its business in Europe,” European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, the group’s chief antitrust regulator, said in the announcement. “Amazon can no longer abuse its dual role and will have to change several business practices.”

Under the deal, Amazon has agreed to give third-party merchants an equal chance of being chosen as a default option in its “Buy Box” to qualify for Prime Shipping.

In addition, the company agreed not to use non-public data about independent sellers’ activities on its marketplace, for its retail business.

“This applies to both Amazon’s automated tools and employees that could cross-use the data from Amazon Marketplace, for retail decisions,” the EC said. The statement added that Amazon had also agreed “not to use such data for the purposes of selling branded goods as well as its private label products.”

Finally, Amazon agreed to “set non-discriminatory conditions and criteria for the qualification of marketplace sellers and offers to Prime,” the statement said.

It will also let Prime sellers choose a carrier for their logistics and delivery services, and not use information “obtained through Prime about the terms and performance of third-party carriers, for its own logistics services.”

The European Union’s executive arm had been investigating Amazon on issues related to nonpublic information and the company’s Buy Box and Prime programs.

Amazon has said that while it has concerns about the EU’s Digital Markets Act and the conclusions the group had made, it engaged with the European Commission to be able to continue to do business in Europe.

The agreement comes as several Big Tech firms are facing similar investigations by the EU — and the advent of new tech regulations — causing these companies to offer concessions like the one Amazon just made.

Last week saw the news 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-time policy of only permitting apps from its own App Store and would let users of its devices download third-party apps and avoid both Apple’s restrictions and the commission it levies on payments.