Amazon may have to adjust proposals to end business practices investigations, says EU Vestager

Amazon may have to adjust proposals to end business practices investigations, says EU Vestager

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by Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said on Friday that Amazon (Nasdaq) may have to adjust its proposals to end two investigations into its business practices, following comments from third parties on the issue.

In July, the US online retailer said it would set up a data silo, preventing its retail arm from using data from its market to make competing private label products.

He will also end preferential treatment of himself and treat sellers as equals when arranging their offers for the “buy box” on his website which generates the bulk of his sales.

Vestager has given the third parties until 9 September to provide feedback before deciding whether to accept the proposals.

A group of 11 non-governmental bodies and the European Consumers Organisation, BEUC, have criticized Amazon’s offer, urging the European Commission to demand amendments to it.

“We are now assessing those comments, some of which indicated potential improvements in several points,” Vestager said at a conference in New York.

Vestager also addressed the European Commission’s investigation into Google’s digital advertising company Alphabet (NASDAQ:), saying it was cooperating with its US counterpart on the issue.

“We are also in close contact with the Department of Justice (DoJ) in the context of our investigation into Google Ads technology,” she said.

The investigation is at an initial stage.

Vestager, who earlier this year pushed through landmark EU rules to rein in big tech companies, urged US lawmakers to pass a measure called the US Online Innovation and Choice Act that prevents tech giants from giving preference to their own businesses on their websites.

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โ€œIt’s up to Congress, of course, but in the absence of that kind of legislative push, there is a risk of regulatory fragmentation โ€” which again points to the more important role of cooperation across our jurisdictions, such as our cooperation with the Department of Justice on Google,” Vestager said.

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