NGOs beg EU not to give in to Amazon

Twelve civil society and digital rights groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and unions signed a document in which they openly criticize the concessions made by Amazon to the European Commission to avoid further legal action.

Amazon’s Commitments

In 2020, the European Union opened two separate investigations against the e-commerce giant, accusing it of anti-competitive practices. The first investigation established that Amazon used non-public data from third-party sellers presented on its platform to give its own products a competitive advantage. The second is mainly aimed at the Buy Box, or purchase button, present on the e-commerce site. In fact, Amazon would have favored the Prime service via this button to highlight its own fulfillment service.

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In response, the American giant made a series of commitments along the lines of the Commission, which, if accepted, would avoid a significant financial penalty. Among these measures, Amazon proposes, in particular, to stop exploiting the non-public data of third-party sellers, namely the conditions of sale, income or even performance, and also undertakes to treat all sellers fairly in the your selection of featured products and offer a competing offer with similar exposure.

It also guarantees that the conditions of access to Prime will no longer be discriminatory and that beneficiaries will be able to freely choose another carrier. In the case of an agreement with the European Commission, Amazon will have to fulfill its commitments for a period of five years.

A computer open on Amazon.

Amazon has also been accused of exploiting the data of its third-party sellers for its benefit in the United States. Photography: Thomas Marks / Unsplsh

Not enough, say NGOs

According to the critical Amazon group, which includes LobbyControl, the Center for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labor and the European Union of Public Utilities, among others, these measures ” are weak, vague and full of gaps, leaving plenty of room for Amazon evasion and abuse “.

The fact that the company only has to fulfill its commitments for five years is ” unjustifiable “, they believe. In this context, they specifically ask the European Commission not to cede to Amazon and continue its investigation to sanction the e-commerce giant. They are also demanding much tougher measures, such as separating the company’s market from its retail operations. retail and logistics, to address concerns about their dominance and control over interdependent services.

Commitments not to abuse the market power generated by these conflicts are a pale shadow of what is needed: the elimination of these conflicts. In our opinion, the only way to eliminate these conflicts is through structural legal measures, such as the legal separation of Amazon’s marketplace from its retail and logistics business. “, writes the group.

Amazon would like to escape DMA

as explained TechCrunch, the various organizations also fear that Amazon’s commitments will later allow it to evade the future European legislation on market competition, the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Scheduled to enter into force in 2023, the text was heavily criticized by large technology companies and imposes numerous measures on tech giants. The group thus recalls that the concessions made by Amazon will be mandatory under the aegis of the DMA, and that even more broadly.

It should be very clear that any compromise by Amazon cannot be used to prevent the Commission from enforcing regulation based on the DMA. Furthermore, accepting both Amazon’s commitments and imposing obligations on it through the DMA would create a two-way regulatory regime that would be confusing, inefficient, and vulnerable to manipulation by Amazon. they keep going.

For now, the Commission would be more inclined to strike a deal with Amazon, but has not yet given a definitive answer. To see if these different organizations make you see the case in a new light.

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