According to reporting from the New York Times, Amazon has come to a settlement with European Union regulators. And as a result, the e-commerce giant will be changing some of its core business practices.
According to the NYT, “the settlement, expected to be announced on Dec. 20, will end two antitrust investigations in Europe. The deal will require Amazon to give makers of rival products equal access to valuable real estate on its website said the people who would speak only anonymously before the official announcement.”
Consumers previously criticized Amazon over favoring its own products on its site. This was particularly true within an area called the “Buy Box.” The NYT reports this area as “valuable space” on Amazon’s site. As part of the settlement, specific aspects of the “Buy Box” will change. This gives merchants equal access and creates a more fair and competitive marketplace.
What’s more, Amazon will stop using private data from merchants that it competes with. Merchants will sell through Amazon Prime. Amazon will not force them to use its shipping and logistics services.
It will be interesting to see how European regulation of Amazon will affect its business worldwide. Amazon may fight to keep its anti-competitive practices in other markets, but this double standard could backfire.
“The European Union is much more aggressive with regulations than many sovereign counterparts, especially the U.S., where anti-trust types of issues require bipartisan cooperation, something that has not existed for some time,” said Steve Murphy, Director of Commercial Payments at Mercator Advisory Group. “ Nonetheless big tech has come under criticism for simply being too big so it’s something to keep an eye on.”