The EU’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager is taking a second shot at forcing Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, to redesign its website in a way that’s fairer for small vendors, reported Politico.
The European Commission’s antitrust police are locked in a long-running battle with Amazon over how to rejig the website in a manner that ensures smaller vendors can compete fairly with products directly sold by the e-commerce giant itself.
The competition problem Vestager is trying to solve is whether Amazon is abusing its ubiquitous presence as a platform to give undue prominence in web displays to its own goods — or those sold by companies with special arrangements with Amazon — to the detriment of independent rivals.
The EU enforcer is probing how the company uses non-public data to design products that compete with those of sellers. She is also studying whether there is unfair self-preferencing in how Amazon features sellers in its ‘Add to Cart’ feature, otherwise known as the ‘Buy Box’ button.
A first attempt to close the Commission’s twin investigations into Amazon’s practices failed in July when a settlement offer was slammed by campaigners as “vague and full of loopholes.” Vestager told POLITICO last month that there had been “room for improvement” in the initial deal it struck with the U.S. tech giant.