As scrutiny of tech firms grows on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Amazon will reportedly face a formal antitrust investigation from the European Union into its third-party merchant dealings. The move is said to grow a regulatory push that has ensnarled other large Silicon Valley companies, The Wall Street Journal reported.
A spokesperson for the eCommerce retailer said, according to the outlet, “We will cooperate fully with the European Commission and continue working hard to support businesses of all sizes and help them grow.”
The European Union’s top antitrust enforcer, The European Commission, reportedly said its investigation would look at whether Amazon is abusing its role as both a retailer of products and a marketplace provider for independent sellers. The Commission will reportedly investigate whether the eCommerce retailer is utilizing independent merchants’ nonpublic data to compete with them.
In addition, investigators will reportedly look into which data the eCommerce retailer uses to pick a seller as the default choice for a particular item, and whether the chosen seller gets an unfair advantage. It was noted that formal charges, orders to change practices and fines could be coming, although it’s also a possibility that the probe could be dropped.
In separate European Commission news, Google recently appealed a $1.7 billion fine, which was issued in March for anti-competitive behaviors in the online advertising market. The $1.7 billion fine, the third for Google levied by the European Union, centered on what the bloc said was the firm’s abuse of its dominant position in the search engine market and efforts to block companies that sell text ads based on competitors’ search results. This fine is said to be less than the combined $7.67 billion the EU has fined Google in the past two instances.