The European Union is getting tough on Amazon’s big data collection practices. Valentina Pop and Sam Schechner report for The Wall Street Journal:
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -3.41% faces fresh legal battles with the European Union after the bloc charged the online retailer with violating competition law in a new salvo in its scrutiny of U.S. tech corporations.
The European Commission—the bloc’s top antitrust enforcer—issued a charge sheet against Amazon alleging that the company uses nonpublic data it gathers from third-party sellers to unfairly compete against them.
In addition, the EU is opening an investigation focusing on how Amazon selects which vendor is the default seller for a given product, alleging that Amazon, and those that pay extra for its services, are more likely to be chosen.
The Wall Street Journal reported in June that the EU was planning formal antitrust charges against Amazon, and that an European Commission case team had circulated a draft of the charge sheet, citing people familiar with the matter.
A decision on whether Amazon broke competition laws is expected next year. If the company is found to be in violation, the commission can force Amazon to change its business practices and fine it as much as 10% of its annual global revenue—or up to $28 billion, based on 2019 numbers. Amazon can challenge any such decision in an EU court.
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