Amazon's everything store becomes everyone's antitrust target
Amazon.com Inc. is finding that it doesn’t have a safe space.
The European Union said Tuesday that Amazon is likely breaching antitrust rules by misusing the data of independent sellers, and also said the retailer may be favoring its own products and those of marketplace traders who use its logistics. The allegations come as President Donald Trump has targeted the company, and a change in American administrations may not ease the attacks.
The world’s biggest online retailer is becoming a global punching bag for regulators even as its sales soar during a global pandemic that’s shut many brick-and-mortar stores. The EU’s announcement is just the latest in a slew of probes and regulatory initiatives from Brussels to Berlin to Washington examining the e-commerce giant’s business practices.
In the U.S., Amazon has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years from Trump, including Twitter attacks against the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos. Attorneys general from New York and California are also partnering with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon’s online marketplace, people familiar with the matter said in August.
The election of Joe Biden likely means continued antitrust scrutiny as he is expected to bring more robust enforcement than was seen under former president Barack Obama. An October report by the Democrat-led House Antitrust Subcommittee found Amazon abused its power over third-party sellers on the Amazon marketplace in part by exploiting its access to sellers’ data. The report recommended that tech giants shouldn’t be able to compete against companies that operate on their platforms.
If the panel’s proposals are passed into law, Amazon’s ability to operate the largest online marketplace and sell its own goods in the same digital storefront may be hamstrung.
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