Austrian retailers have filed a complaint against Amazon with their national competition authority over the US e-commerce giant’s dual role as a retailer and a marketplace.
The European Commission and Germany’s antitrust authority are also looking into Amazon’s role in the market. “We have received a complaint. We are examining it,” a spokeswoman for Austria’s Federal Competition Authority (BWB) said, confirming a statement by the Austrian Retail Association.
The main grounds for the complaint laid out by Austria’s biggest retailers’ association is Amazon’s role as both a retailer in its own right and as a marketplace where other retailers’ products are sold. Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported it had documents showing that the BWB would open an investigation into Amazon.
The spokeswoman, however, said that at this stage the BWB was only examining the complaint.
In a statement outlining its complaint, the Retail Association said the “main problem” was Amazon’s dual role as retailer and marketplace. “Amazon can, in theory, see the prices of the listed retailers (on its platform), undercut their prices and in the long run attract all that business,” it said.
Meanwhile, Australia’s competition watchdog yesterday recommended tougher scrutiny and a new regulatory body to check the dominance of tech giants Facebook and Google in the country’s online advertising and news markets. The recommendation, in a preliminary report on the US firms’ market power, is being closely watched around the world as lawmakers wrestle with the powerful tech firms’ large and growing influence in public life, from privacy to publishing.
It comes days after Australia passed laws forcing tech companies to help police access private user data and amid growing concern from authorities worldwide about the giants’ commercial behavior and distribution of so-called fake news.
“When you get to a certain stage and you get market power, which both Google and Facebook have, with that comes responsibilities and that means, also, additional scrutiny,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims told reporters.