The underlying increasing regulators’ efforts to verify how tech companies exploit data is shown again by the launching of a formal antitrust investigation by European regulators on how Amazon uses data from other merchants selling goods on its ecommerce platform.
The company's dual role of both retailer and marketplace has been investigated in Brussel since September 2018 following complaints from traders about Amazon’s practices. They were trying to determine whether or not third parties selling on the platform were being placed a t competitive disadvantage compared to the products sold by Amazon itself.
Commenting in a statement, competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: “European consumers are increasingly shopping online. Ecommerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior. I have therefore decided to take a very close look at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules.”
The in-depth investigation that will be done by Brussel will look at the standard agreements between amazon and its merchants, and how the use of accumulated marketplace seller data by Amazon as a retailer affects competition. And also its use of data in choosing winners of the “buy box”, which is the button that allows customers to directly add a product from a specific retailer to their online shopping cart.