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Amazon Faces E.U. Inquiry Over Data From Independent Sellers Amazon Faces E.U. Inquiry Over Data From Independent Sellers
(about 2 hours later)
LONDON — Amazon is coming under scrutiny from the European Commission over how it collects and uses data from third-party sellers who appear on the retailing giant’s website and whether that breaches antitrust rules.LONDON — Amazon is coming under scrutiny from the European Commission over how it collects and uses data from third-party sellers who appear on the retailing giant’s website and whether that breaches antitrust rules.
The investigation was announced on Wednesday as the latest effort by European regulators to examine antitrust concerns about giant technology firms. It comes a day after the tech giants faced stinging criticism from lawmakers in Washington who questioned their market power.The investigation was announced on Wednesday as the latest effort by European regulators to examine antitrust concerns about giant technology firms. It comes a day after the tech giants faced stinging criticism from lawmakers in Washington who questioned their market power.
Third-party sellers on Amazon’s website are required to share certain data with company, the European Commission said in announcing its inquiry. Regulators will look at how Amazon uses this data and whether it affects competition. Third-party sellers on Amazon’s website are required to share certain data with the company, the European Commission said in announcing its inquiry. Regulators will look at how Amazon uses this data and whether it affects competition.
The commission will also look into how data is used by Amazon to select which sellers are awarded a “Buy Box,” which is displayed prominently on some companies’ pages.The commission will also look into how data is used by Amazon to select which sellers are awarded a “Buy Box,” which is displayed prominently on some companies’ pages.
“E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices,” said Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner. “We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior.”“E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices,” said Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner. “We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior.”
Amazon responded, saying, “We will cooperate fully with the European Commission and continue working hard to support businesses of all sizes and help them grow.”Amazon responded, saying, “We will cooperate fully with the European Commission and continue working hard to support businesses of all sizes and help them grow.”
The announcement by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive branch, is an incremental step in an inquiry into Amazon’s business that was announced last year. The investigation has no hard deadline and could drag on for years. It could eventually lead to fines or changes to Amazon’s business practices. A settlement could also be reached, or the case could be dropped.The announcement by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive branch, is an incremental step in an inquiry into Amazon’s business that was announced last year. The investigation has no hard deadline and could drag on for years. It could eventually lead to fines or changes to Amazon’s business practices. A settlement could also be reached, or the case could be dropped.
Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google faced criticism at three hearings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that showcased Washington’s widening range of concerns with Silicon Valley. Lawmakers repeatedly asked about how the tech companies have altered innovation and entrepreneurial activity.Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google faced criticism at three hearings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that showcased Washington’s widening range of concerns with Silicon Valley. Lawmakers repeatedly asked about how the tech companies have altered innovation and entrepreneurial activity.
In Washington, the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission recently decided to divide responsibility for potential antitrust investigations of the tech giants.In Washington, the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission recently decided to divide responsibility for potential antitrust investigations of the tech giants.
The Justice Department is taking Google and Apple, while the F.T.C. has Facebook and Amazon. Last week, the F.T.C. voted to fine Facebook about $5 billion for mishandling users’ personal information, by far the agency’s largest fine against a tech company.The Justice Department is taking Google and Apple, while the F.T.C. has Facebook and Amazon. Last week, the F.T.C. voted to fine Facebook about $5 billion for mishandling users’ personal information, by far the agency’s largest fine against a tech company.