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Amazon Offers Concessions To Head Off EU Antitrust Probes

 |  July 17, 2022

Amazon, in its attempt to ward off two European Union antitrust investigations as part of a sustained increase in scrutiny of the internet behemoth by major jurisdictions, has promised to take actions that will lead to treating third-party merchants on its website fairly, the bloc’s competition watchdog said Thursday.

The US-based 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.

Related: German Watchdog Subjects Amazon To Stricter Rules

The investigations are part of the bloc’s wider efforts to curb the power of big technology companies. Amazon also is facing similar scrutiny in the US.

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 US companies.” The act, part of the EU’s overhaul of its digital rulebook, aims to prevent tech giants from becoming dominant by making 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 percent of its annual worldwide revenue, which could have amounted to billions of dollars.

Related: UK Watchdog To Directly Oversee Amazon, Microsoft Cloud Services

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