EU reportedly investigating Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers, formalizing antitrust probe
As Amazon preps for a big antitrust hearing in the U.S., reports are surfacing that the European Union is launching its own investigation into whether the Seattle tech giant engages in anti-competitive behavior.
Last year, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager announced her office was looking into whether Amazon uses its position to gain an edge over third-party sellers in its marketplace. The commission plans to formalize that investigation in the next few days, two sources told Bloomberg.
Related: Big Tech’s big week: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on the hot seat in Washington, D.C.
European regulators want to find out whether Amazon is using the data it collects from smaller sellers to gain an advantage for products the tech giant sells directly. If, for example, Amazon discovers a hot new item from a third-party seller, the company could replicate it and sell it at a lower price.
Under Vestager, the EU has repeatedly gone after American tech companies, slapping Google with fines that amount to $9.3 billion over the past few years. Facebook, Apple, and Qualcomm have also found themselves in the EU’s crosshairs over competition issues. In 2015, the EU opened an investigation into whether Amazon’s e-book dominance was hurting competition and looked into a tax deal the company made with Luxembourg.
Amazon is now fielding antitrust scrutiny on at least two continents. On Tuesday, an executive from the company will join representatives from Apple, Facebook, and Google to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on tech’s dominance.
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