Europe is closing in on Amazon, as Germany investigates if the firm is abusing its market position

David Ryder/Getty ImagesAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Germany’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into whether Amazon is abusing the dominance of its marketplace platform.
  • The probe was prompted by numerous complaints lodged against Amazon by third-party sellers.
  • It will run in tandem with a similar investigation by the EU into Amazon’s marketplace.

Germany’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into Amazon over the potential abuse of its marketplace platform.

The president of the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), Andreas Mundt, said in a statement:

“Amazon is the largest online retailer and operates by far the largest online marketplace in Germany. Many retailers and manufacturers depend on the reach of Amazon’s marketplace for their online sales. Amazon functions as a kind of ‘gatekeeper’ for customers.

“Its double role as the largest retailer and largest marketplace has the potential to hinder other sellers on its platform. Because of the many complaints we have received we will examine whether Amazon is abusing its market position to the detriment of sellers active on its marketplace. We will scrutinize its terms of business and practices towards sellers.”

The EU is also currently looking into whether Amazon could be abusing the dominance of its market platform, and this summer the European Commission sent out questionnaires to Amazon third-party sellers to gather information.

The Federal Cartel Office said the two investigations will supplement each other, with the Commission focussing on the possibility that Amazon uses data to disadvantage sellers, and the German watchdog scrutinising “the company’s terms of business and practices towards sellers on its German Amazon marketplace.”

When contacted by Business Insider, an Amazon spokesman said the company does not comment on ongoing proceedings. “However, we will cooperate fully with the Bundeskartellamt and continue working hard to support small and medium-sized businesses and help them grow,” he added.

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