Amazon moves to end long-running EU antitrust case

Amazon on Thursday sought to end a three-year investigation by European Union antitrust regulators by offering to make a series of changes to its business practices and give rival merchants an easier way to reach customers on its site. Web.

Amazon has been under investigation for misusing its domain in e-commerce to drive out competitors. Authorities had accused the company of collecting non-public data on independent merchants to inform its own product offerings and unfairly using Amazon Prime to force sellers to use its logistics business.

On Thursday, the European Commission, the executive branch of the 27-nation bloc, said Amazon has pledged to stop collecting non-public data about the merchants it competes with, including information on terms of sales, revenue, shipments, inventory and performance. .

Amazon is committed to giving other sellers more access to valuable space on its website, such as the “Buy Box,” which prominently displays special offers. Merchants could also participate in the Prime program without using Amazon’s fulfillment business, giving retailers the option of partnering with other providers to handle inventory and shipping.

The concessions offered by Amazon are now under review, with the commission’s final decision expected to come later this year. Rival companies and other groups have until September 9 to present their views on Amazon’s offer to the commission.

A settlement would help Amazon avoid a fine that could run into billions of dollars.

The European Union has been sharpening its scrutiny of the world’s biggest technology companies. Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta have all been the targets of antitrust investigations in recent years.

Supervision is expected to intensify. In March, lawmakers agreed on a new law, called the Digital Markets Law, to prevent the biggest tech platforms from using their services and wealth to lock users up and undermine competitors. Another law, the Digital Services Law, puts more pressure on social media companies to clean up their platforms.

Regulators have been particularly concerned that the largest tech companies are hurting competition by taking advantage of their size and scale.

Amazon operates a marketplace that is essential for independent sellers to reach customers, but it also competes against many of those merchants. Apple, which is also under investigation by the European Commission, controls how app makers reach iPhone and iPad users, while selling software that competes with those services.

Amazon, which is facing separate antitrust investigations in Germany and Britain, raised concerns that European regulators were unfairly targeting American tech companies.

“While we have serious concerns about the Digital Markets Act unfairly targeting Amazon and some other US companies, and we disagree with several conclusions of the European Commission, we have engaged constructively with the Commission to address their concerns,” he said. the company in a statement. .

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