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Amazon reaches antitrust settlement with EU

Amazon has today reached a final agreement with the EU antitrust regulator European Commission on concerns that its use of data to harm competitors, thus ending two investigations launched by the European Commission against Amazon.

In November 2020, the European Commission accused Amazon of using its size, power, and data to gain an unfair advantage over smaller merchants selling on its platform. In addition, the EU has launched another investigation to assess whether Amazon gives preferential treatment to its own retail goods and marketplace sellers who use its logistics and delivery services.

In June and July, Amazon made concessions to the EU, promising to allow sellers access to some market data, while its commerce unit would not be able to use seller data collected by its retail arm. In addition, Amazon also agreed to increase the visibility of rival products on its platform.

Amazon says it doesn’t discriminate when ranking sellers’ Buy Box offers. Buy Box allows consumers to add items from a specific retailer directly to their shopping cart. On the Amazon platform, getting a buy box means more sales.

In response to Amazon's proposed concessions, the European Commission then began to solicit feedback, and competitors and consumers can submit comments and suggestions before September 1. After that, the European Commission will decide whether to accept Amazon's proposal. In the case of Amazon, it is hoped that the EU will conclude its investigation by the end of this year.

The European Commission plans to announce the settlement on Dec. 20, four people familiar with the matter said today. Of course, the final date may change. Amazon's pledges, which are valid for five years, have been market tested with competitors and endorsed by EU officials.

For the EU, the settlement represents a victory for successfully using the new Digital Markets Act to limit the power of big tech companies. In the case of Amazon, a hefty fine of up to 10% of global revenue was avoided.

As part of the settlement, Amazon will also allow sellers using its Prime membership program to choose any logistics company and negotiate terms directly with them, rather than being restricted from using Amazon's logistics services.


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