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Bundeskartellamt extends antitrust review of Amazon



Bundeskartellamt extends antitrust review of Amazon

The Bundeskartellamt has now extended two ongoing abuse proceedings against the company Amazon to the application of the new instrument for more effective supervision of large digital groups (Article 19a GWB).

This was announced by the Cartel Office. The Bundeskartellamt had already determined in July that Amazon was a company of exceptional cross-market importance for competition and that the new supervisory instrument could therefore also apply to the company. Amazon has appealed this decision, which will be decided by the Federal Court of Justice. Until then, however, the decision remains binding for the time being.

In the first of the two procedures, referring to certain behaviors of Amazon the Bundeskartellamt examines price control mechanisms. This is an algorithmic review of third party trader pricing on the Amazonmarket. The application of these mechanisms can make merchants’ offers more difficult to find or even blocked for end customers.

The second method deals with the problem of so-called brand gating. The Bundeskartellamt is investigating possible disadvantages for market traders through various instruments from Amazonfor example agreements with (branded) manufacturers that allow or prohibit resellers from selling (branded) products on the Amazon– Market of concern.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “In both proceedings, we are investigating whether and how Amazon affects the business opportunities of retailers who compete with Amazon’s own business activities on the Amazon Marketplace. Exploitation by Amazon of the first e-commerce marketplace gives the company a key position that includes broad regulatory power over competition on the platform.With the new powers, which are intended to limit this regulatory power, we can combat the Amazon’s anti-competitive behavior more effectively than before.

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