Amazon to share more data with rivals after EU antitrust deal
Amazon will share more data with rivals and give shoppers a wider choice of products, under a deal with EU antitrust regulators that will close two of the most high-profile investigations in Brussels.
Details of the deal are being shared with Amazon’s rivals to ensure they would clear up competition concerns before the European Commission can announce a deal.
Regulators are expected to announce the so-called market test next week before a deal is formally reached after the summer. Three people with knowledge of the matter said there could be minor changes, but nothing that would derail a deal.
As part of the deal, Amazon will allow third-party sellers in its marketplace to access more information that can help them sell more products online.
It comes three years after antitrust officials launched an investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices by Amazon in the way it handles competitor data.
A deal means Amazon will avoid formal charges of breaching EU law and steep fines of up to 10% of global revenue. Brussels will avoid a long legal battle in EU courts and ensure compliance before tougher digital rules come into force next year.
Investigators suspected that Amazon, with its dual role as a marketplace and retailer on its own platform, was breaking EU law by using sensitive market information to artificially promote its own retail business. at the expense of its rivals.
The timing and details of the deal could still change, said three people with direct knowledge of the talks.
Amazon and the European Commission declined to comment.
Separately on Wednesday, Britain’s competition watchdog said it was investigating Amazon over concerns it was undermining rivals on its platform.
The German competition authority also announced that Amazon is “of paramount importance for competition between markets”, which means it will have to comply with stricter rules than its smaller rivals. Amazon said it disagreed with this assessment.
The EU deal with Amazon will end two of the most high-profile tech antitrust cases just months before new laws designed to curb Big Tech’s market power come into force.
On Tuesday, the European Parliament passed the final text of the Digital Markets Act, which will ban tech groups from ranking their own products and services at the expense of rivals as regulators seek to ensure a level playing field across Europe. This is the first major overhaul of digital legislation in more than two decades.
Regulators and Amazon have also reached an agreement on a second, related case involving the tech giant’s “buy box,” which ranks sellers at the top of search results and directs a large portion of purchases on the site.
The second survey looked at whether the company favored sellers who also use its logistics and delivery services to decide who gets access to the highly sought-after Buy Box. Amazon has made concessions that it will make competing products more visible to assuage competition concerns.
While some companies, such as Apple and Meta, have aggressively pushed back against the new rules, Amazon has taken a more conciliatory tone with regulators.
This is not the first time that Amazon has reached an agreement with the European Commission. In 2017, Brussels agreed to undertakings after launching an investigation into whether the US-based online retailer unfairly excluded competitors from the e-book market.