What does Amazon promise Brussels to avoid its antitrust wrath?

Amazon submitted a series of commitments to the Commission, the contents of which were unveiled on July 14. This is for the American company to escape an antitrust fine following two investigations opened in July 2019 and November 2020.

The first relates to its use of non-public data from third-party sellers in the marketplace, which would allow it to “calibrate retail offers” and the “strategic business decisions” to the detriment of other sellers on the platform. The second concerns the “Buy Box” and the “Prime” label. This time, it is criticized for applying obscure criteria for the selection of sellers who benefit from these devices.

No more using data from sellers

Faced with these accusations, Amazon agrees for a period of five to “refrain from using non-public data relating to, or derived from, the activities of independent sellers on its marketplace for its retail business that competes with such sellers“. This commitment will apply both “to automated tools” and its employees. Important clarification: the data concerned are individual data and aggregated data, such as sales conditions, receipts, shipments, information relating to stocks, data relating to consumer visits or performance sellers on the platform.

On the “Buy Box”, this shopping box allows a user to add a product to their shopping cart, Amazon promises to apply “equal treatment“to all sellers when ranking their offers for the purposes of selecting the winners. In addition, to widen the choice of consumers, a second offer competing with that of the winner will be displayed”if there is a second offer that is sufficiently differentiated with regard to price and/or delivery“. Until now, when several sellers offer the same product, only one seller was chosen for the Buy Box.

Stop scrutinizing third-party carrier information

For the “Prime” label, the e-commerce giant undertakes to set “non-discriminatory conditions and criteria” to select sellers and offers on the marketplace as well as to establish the free choice of the carrier. It will no longer use, for its own logistics services, information obtained thanks to Prime on “the conditions and performance of third-party carriersThe goal is to ensure that carrier data is no longer passed directly to Amazon’s competing logistics services.

The European Commission is seeking the opinion of any interested party until 9 September. Once this period has passed, it will be able to determine whether or not it is convinced by these commitments. If it is, they will become legally binding and, in case of non-compliance, Amazon risks a fine of up to 10% of its worldwide annual turnover (470 billion dollars in 2021).

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