EU charges Amazon with anti-competitive action

Distorting competition in online retail.

That was the charge levelled at Amazon by the European Commission on Tuesday (November 10).

It marks antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager's latest tussle with a U.S. tech giant.

She said the EU takes issue with Amazon using non-public business data of independent sellers who sell on its marketplace, to the benefit of Amazon's own retail business.

""Our concern is not about the insights that Amazon Retail has into the sensitive business data of one particular seller, rather they are about the insights that Amazon Retail has about the accumulative business data of more than 800,000 active sellers in the European Union covering more than a billion products. In order words, this is a case about big data."

The probe launched in July 2019 was triggered by complaints from traders.

The Commission also opened a second investigation into Amazon's business practices.

Including the possible preferential treatment of the firm's own retail offers.

As well as those of marketplace sellers that use Amazon's logistics and delivery services.

The Silicon Valley giant has disagreed with the EU charges, and can ask for a closed door hearing to defend itself.

But the charges come as the pandemic has amplified Amazon's role in the global economy, with online sales soaring.

Under Vestager's watch, the EU has imposed large fines on Alphabet's Google and other leading names.

The crackdown on Big Tech's power has also spread to the U.S.

The Trump administration last month filed a historic monopoly lawsuit against Google.