Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The European Union on Tuesday charged online retailer Amazon with abusing its dominant position to distort competition, which the bloc said is a violation of antitrust laws.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said an investigation found that Amazon takes advantage of its market-leader status and uses non-public business data against independent, third-party sellers that steers business to its own products, or to preferred vendors.
"We must ensure that dual role platforms with market power, such as Amazon, do not distort competition," Vestager said in a statement. "Data on the activity of third party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers."
Competition among Amazon vendors, she said, must be fair.
"Its rules should not artificially favor Amazon's own retail offers or advantage the offers of retailers using Amazon's logistics and delivery services," she added. "With e-commerce booming, and Amazon being the leading e-commerce platform, a fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers."
The 27-member alliance said the inquiry found that "very large quantities of non-public seller data" are available to Amazon, which it unfairly leverages to "calibrate" its own private-label offerings at the expense of third-party sellers.
Amazon countered that its presence in the digital consumer marketplace has spurred, not hindered, competition.
"Amazon represents less than 1% of the global retail market, and there are larger retailers in every country in which we operate," the company said.
"There are more than 150,000 European businesses selling through our stores that generate tens of billions of euros in revenues annually and have created hundreds of thousands of jobs."
The EU also said it's looking into accusations that Amazon gives preferential treatment to its own retail offerings and those of marketplace sellers who use its logistics and delivery services.