Amazon.com Inc. lost its appeal of a move by European Union antitrust regulators to allow for parallel EU and Italian antitrust probes into how the ecommerce giant may have unfairly treated some sellers on its platform.
The EU Court of Justice, the bloc’s top tribunal, dismissed Amazon’s challenge. Amazon cannot appeal the final ruling.
Amazon had objected to a European Commission decision allowing Italy to continue running its own probe into the “buy box.” That’s where Amazon highlights sellers of a particular product. Amazon objected after the EU’s antitrust arm started to examine the same issue.
The mass merchant last year settled the EU probe by offering a number of remedies, including a pledge to address concerns about the way its Buy Box for showcasing specific offers and Prime unduly favored its own retail business, including a promise to display a second Buy Box immediately underneath the first one.
Amazon is No. 1 in the 2022 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 database. The Top 1000 ranks North American web merchants by sales. It is No. 3 in the Digital Commerce 360 Online Marketplaces database, which ranks the 100 largest global marketplaces.
Stateside Amazon antitrust probes
The Federal Trade Commission has been looking at Amazon since 2019 over antitrust concerns with its retail business and cloud computing services.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission revamped in June its Amazon antitrust probe. It shook up the investigative team, re-interviewing potential witnesses and asking questions about the company’s recent acquisition of MGM Studios, three people familiar with the probe said.
Other recent Amazon trouble
In March, an Amazon consultant pleaded guilty in giving sellers a competitive advantage.
Ephraim “Ed” Rosenberg was the final holdout among five U.S.-based defendants accused of paying off Amazon employees in exchange for confidential company data. Among other things, the data helped them steer business to some merchants and shut out their competitors.
Four other people have already pleaded guilty to the Amazon bribery scheme. Two of them have been sentenced to prison. One former Amazon employee who lives in India and allegedly accepted bribes was indicted but never arraigned.
The Amazon bribery scheme which began as early as 2017. It seemed plucked from a Hollywood script, with payments criss-crossing the globe via MoneyGram, PayPal and suitcases stuffed with cash sent via Uber.
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