The European Commission on Tuesday announced that it accepted the concessions US ecommerce giant Amazon made to close inquiries into anti-competitive tactics.
Antitrust investigations have found Amazon gave itself an unfair advantage over rival sellers. With the agreement, the company will avoid a legal battle that could have ended with it facing large fines.
What changes will Amazon make?
Amazon, which runs a platform where independent sellers can sell products directly to customers, also competes with those sellers. This meant that it had access to large datasets, including non-public ones, about their activities.
According to the European Commission, Amazon pledged not to use any non-public data from independent sellers for its own retail purposes.
The company also committed to giving products from rival sellers equal visibility in the Buy Box, a premium spot on the Amazon website that leads to higher sales.
The world’s biggest online store also vowed not to discriminate against sellers in the Amazon Prime membership service and let Prime members freely choose any delivery service.
Changes related to Prime and Buy Box are set to remain in force for seven years.
“While we continue to disagree with several of the preliminary conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively to ensure that we can continue to serve customers across Europe and support the 225,000 European small and medium-sized businesses selling through our stores,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
What did the EU say?
An independent trustee will monitor the implementation of those commitments, the EU said. It added that Amazon could still face a fine of up to 10% of its total annual turnover in case of a breach of commitments.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said Amazon’s pledges addressed the Commission’s “preliminary competition concerns.”
“So today’s decision sets the rules that Amazon will need to play by in the future, instead of Amazon determining these rules for all players on its platform,” she said.
“With these new rules competing independent retailers, carriers and European customers, well, they will have more opportunity and more choice.”
fb/es (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)