Amazon is the latest American tech giant which faces the watchful eye of Europe's Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, as she stated during a press conference.
According to Vestager, an official investigation on Amazon's business practices in the EU hasn't yet begun since the EU watchdog is currently only collecting information on how the American electronic commerce and cloud computing giant is using the data it gathers from third-party sellers to give itself an anticompetitive edge.
Moreover, EU's antitrust watchdog is going through a preliminary investigation which wants to make sure that Amazon is not using its e-commerce platform data to gain a competitive advantage against smaller merchants.
The EU Commissioner for Competition's office has already sent questionnaires to select independent merchants who sell their products on Amazon's online market to learn the exact stance and behavior of the e-commerce giant when dealing with its smaller competitors and, at the same time, clients.
Amazon's problems will start if Vestager finds out after this preliminary inquiry that the American company is using the sales data it collects to push away other independent merchants to sell its products at lower, anticompetitive prices.
Europe's Commissioner for Competition is known for its record fines
If Amazon got fined for anti-competitive practices, it wouldn't be the first time Vestager's office slaps a record find to a tech company.
In July, the EU fined Google for using the dominant market position of Android and ‘illegally tying’ the Chrome browser and its search apps to the OS.
“Because if you as Amazon get the data from the smaller merchants that you host which can be of course completely legitimate because you can improve your service to these smaller merchants," said Vestager. "Well, do you then also use these data to do your own calculations? [..] And that has made us start a preliminary… antitrust investigation into Amazon’s business practices."
As per EU rules and regulations, any tech company found to break the EU antitrust rules can be fined by the European regulator with up to 10% of their annual global turnover.