German Antitrust Watchdog Launches Probe Into Amazon

Some of the only good things coming out of Germany.

Germany’s antitrust authority has launched an investigation into whether U.S. ecommerce giant Amazon is exploiting its market dominance in its relations with third-party retailers who use its website as a marketplace.

The move comes as European regulators have been taking a tough line on U.S. tech giants like Google and Facebook, with the European Commission also looking into Amazon’s dual role as retailer and marketplace.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office said in a statement on Thursday that it had received many complaints from traders about the business practices of Amazon of late.

“Amazon acts as a kind of ‘gatekeeper’ to customers. The double role as biggest trader and biggest marketplace means there is a potential to impede other traders on the platform,” said cartel office President Andreas Mundt.

Mundt said the investigation would examine the business conditions that Amazon imposes on traders using its site, including a lack of transparency over how it ends relations with merchants, delayed payments and shipping conditions.

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment on the proceedings beyond saying it was cooperating fully and would continue to work to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses.

The European Commission is also investigating Amazon’s dual function and is asking retailers and manufacturers whether Amazon’s sales of own-brand products similar to theirs have harmed their business.

Germany is Amazon’s second biggest market. It has faced a long-running battle with unions in the country over pay and conditions for logistics workers, who staged another round of strikes last week.

The cartel office said the probe into Amazon will seek to address any violations of German competition or anti-trust law, but does not foresee significant fines unless they are considered as part of a final ruling requiring a company to end any abusive market practices.

Investigators will contact retailers using the Amazon platform and examine their contracts.

The German antitrust watchdog is also investigating Facebook after finding the social media giant abused its market dominance to gather data on people without their knowledge or consent. Its ruling is expected in the New Year (Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; editing by Adrian Croft and Elaine Hardcastle)

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Seems a little fishy that other countries are going after Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter. But yet the USA isn’t?

Why?

Did Dorsey, Zuckerberg and Bezos pay off our politicians during Obama’s administration? Sure looks that way doesn’t it.

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They are probably paying off our politicians around the clock. Plus, they are all in bed with one another even when they act like they are at one another’s throats. Paul Ryan’s wife is a lobbyist for the Democrats and no one had a problem with this the whole time that dumbass was Speaker of the House.

Is Amazon really a monopoly though? When you think about it they are really just a giant digital mail-order catalog. They do make some of the products on there with Amazon Basics - but that is about it. No one is forced to buy any of their Amazon Basics products if they don’t want to. I get that theri union workers want more pay and benefits - but that’s the bread and butter of the union argument anywhere you go.

If you read the article, the issue is with Amazon manipulating the way products are shown to the customers, just like how Google manipulates logistics to bury Freebirds.

“Amazon acts as a kind of ‘gatekeeper’ to customers. The double role as biggest trader and biggest marketplace means there is a potential to impede other traders on the platform,” said cartel office President Andreas Mundt.

Mundt said the investigation would examine the business conditions that Amazon imposes on traders using its site, including a lack of transparency over how it ends relations with merchants, delayed payments and shipping conditions.

I think its not about the issue of monopoly but malpractice.

We all have the decision, we can purchase from Amazon a convince and not necessarily the cheapest vs. a local vendor which offers better service and possibly a less expensive option.

I purchase from Amazon when product isn’t available locally.