Wednesday, October 20

EU charges Amazon with distorting online retail competition

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BRUSSELS — EU regulators charged Amazon on Tuesday with distorting competition in online retail and opened a second investigation into its business practices, as antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager takes aim at another US technology giant.

The European Commission has been investigating Amazon’s dual role – as a marketplace for merchants and also a rival seller – since July last year, triggered by complaints from traders about the company’s practices.

It has also looked into how Amazon uses competitively sensitive merchant data to select winners for its “buy box,” which allows customers to add items from a specific retailer directly into their shopping carts.

“We must ensure that dual-role platforms with market power, such as Amazon, do not distort competition,” said Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, has a reputation of being one of the world’s toughest antitrust regulators.