Following a lengthy investigation into Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers, the European Commission (EC) plans to lodge formal antitrust charges against Amazon, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Journal said the charges will likely come sometime within the next two weeks. The watchdog group reportedly intends to accuse Amazon of using data from third-party sellers to compete against them.
EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager said last year that Amazon “appears to use competitively sensitive information – about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace.”
"Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace," the EU said in July 2019, when it first launched the investigation.
Scrutiny over business practices
During the course of the probe, Vestager said the EU would "take a very close look at Amazon's business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules."
In April, more than 20 former Amazon employees told the Journal that Amazon had used seller data to help design and price its in-house products. Amazon maintained that it "strictly prohibt[s]" its employees from using that data and said it had launched an internal investigation into the matter.
A decision on whether the company violated competition laws is "expected to take at least another year," according to the report. If Amazon is ultimately found to have violated competition laws, it could face a fine of 10 percent of its annual revenue, the report says.