For years, the EU Commission has accused the online giant Amazon of abusing its market power in competition with other providers. Now the US company has made concessions.

Amazon customers can hope for a larger selection and better offers on the online platform. The background is a competition dispute between the US company and the EU Commission, which has now been settled, as the Brussels authorities announced. Amazon must therefore change business practices in the future.

The EU Commission has accepted concessions from the world’s largest online retailer. She had previously identified possible violations of EU competition law in several areas. “The changes open up new opportunities and greater choice, which will benefit competing independent retailers and transport companies, as well as consumers,” said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Among other things, the company was accused of systematically using non-public business data from independent retailers for its own retail business. The background is that Amazon not only sells goods itself as a retailer, but also makes its website available as a platform for other retailers. “Amazon can no longer abuse its dual role and will need to change several ways of doing business,” Vestager said.

Greater choice for consumers

Amazon assured that, for example, data should be better protected against use by Amazon, as announced by the EU Commission. An Amazon spokesman said: “We are pleased to have addressed the European Commission’s concerns and resolved these issues.” Although the views of the EU Commission differ from those of the EU Commission in a number of cases, we have worked constructively with them.

The European consumer association Beuc welcomed the development. Amazon’s pledges should result in the company offering more choice, making it easier for consumers to shop for the best deals, Beuc CEO Monique Goyens said.

Amazon had already announced concessions in the summer. The EU Commission then obtained feedback from Amazon’s rivals. After further adjustments by Amazon, the EU Commission then came to the conclusion that its concerns had been dispelled, as can be seen from the communication from the competition watchdog. “The Commission has therefore decided to make the offered definitive commitments legally binding on Amazon.”

Violations can result in high penalties

In July 2019, the Commission launched an investigation into possible illegal business practices. They mainly looked into the question of whether the group was unfairly competing with other retailers who use its platform. If Amazon violates the promises it has now made, penalties of up to ten percent of the company’s annual sales may be due.

Other commitments relate to “non-discriminatory” access to Amazon’s Prime program, through which subscription customers can also get items from other retailers delivered free of charge. Prime retailers should also be able to choose which shipping service their goods will be delivered with. In addition, in the future there will be space for more than one retailer in the so-called Buy Box with highlighted items. In the Amazon buy box, offers are clearly displayed – the items can be bought there very easily.