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Amazon Offers Concessions In EU Antitrust Cases

 |  July 14, 2022

Amazon, seeking to resolve two European Union antitrust investigations, has promised to treat third-party merchants on its website fairly, the bloc’s competition watchdog said Thursday.

The U.S. online retail giant offered to make a number of commitments to ease competition concerns, and the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s top antitrust enforcer, said it will now seek feedback on them from “interested parties.”

The commission launched an investigation four years ago over concerns Amazon breached EU competition rules by using data from merchants selling products on its platform to gain an unfair advantage over them.

It also opened a separate investigation into whether Amazon favors its own retail business and merchants that use its logistics and delivery system over other sellers.

The investigations are part of the bloc’s wider efforts to curb the power of big technology companies.

Amazon said that while it disagreed with several of the conclusions, it has “engaged constructively with the commission to address their concerns and preserve our ability to serve European customers and the more than 185,000 European small- and medium-sized businesses selling through our stores.”

The company also said it has “serious concerns” about new EU digital regulations, known as the Digital Markets Act, that it said are “unfairly targeting Amazon and a few other U.S. companies.” The act, part of the EU’s overhaul of its digital rulebook, aims to rein in the power of tech giants and make them treat smaller rivals fairly under threat of hefty fines.

Under the commission’s investigation, Amazon had faced a possible fine of up to 10% of its annual worldwide revenue, which could have amounted to billions of dollars.

Britain’s competition watchdog opened a similar probe into Amazon last week, looking into concerns that the online retailer is abusing its dominance to undermine rivals.

The EU commission suspected Amazon of distorting competition by accessing and analyzing real-time data from independent vendors selling goods on its platform to help decide which new products of its own to launch and how to price and market them.

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