What you need to know
- Amazon is set to be charged by the EU over antitrust violations.
- It's expected to take a year for the commission to decide if Amazon has breached antitrust laws, or not.
- The company could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue if found guilty.
Amazon is set to face new antitrust charges by the European Commission, as per a new report by the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reports:
The charges could be officially filed as early as next week or the week after, one of the people said. The European Commission, the bloc's top antitrust regulator, has been honing its case, and the case team has been circulating a draft of the charge sheet for a couple of months, another person said.
The formal charges would be the commission's latest step in a nearly two-year probe into Amazon's alleged mistreatment of sellers that use its platform. The charges—called a statement of objections—stem from Amazon's dual role as a marketplace operator and a seller of its own products, the people said. In them, the EU accuses Amazon of scooping up data from third-party sellers and using that information to compete against them, for instance by launching similar products.
Even if Amazon is charged, the Journal notes that it would take an additional year before the Commission will rule on whether Amazon did breach antitrust laws or not. If found to have breached those laws, it could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue and forced to change the way it did business.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Amazon used data from competing third-party sellers when it was developing its own products, despite claiming that it didn't when questioned by the U.S. Congress.
It had also fallen under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice last year, who has also been investigating it to see whether it has abused its power for market dominance.
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