EU's Top Competition Cop Says Amazon Probe in 'Quite Advanced' Stage

The European Union’s top Contest cop States her preliminary Evaluation to Amazon’s Information practices is at”quite Sophisticated” Phases.

Margrethe Vestager – who has emerged as the world’s toughest Big Tech regulator – is racing against the clock to ascertain whether to deliver a formal antitrust case against the e-commerce giant prior to her term as commissioner ends in October. Her team is probing whether Amazon utilizes the information it collects from companies which sell products on its stage to inform its own product sales and undercut its competitors.

“Since it’s not given that I can continue for the commissioner for competition, I want to take more decisive measures before I must go,” Vestager informed a small group of reporters at South by Southwest. “We are pushing it for obvious reasons.”

As Europe seeks to crack down on Big Tech, Vestager is especially focused on the competition issues that arise when companies are both marketplaces that sponsor other sellers — and merchants competing to peddle their own products. Vestager wants to make sure the biggest players that push the digital market – a la Amazon – aren’t abusing their market dominance and hurting consumers as they use info from rivals to inform their own business decisions.

An official case against Amazon might set the tone for how policymakers throughout the entire world – even in the US – might treat the issue.

It extends far beyond one e-commerce giant, Vestager said. “Amazon is not the only one,” she said.” Google also has this character since in addition they are being the navigation tool to find a great deal of companies, companies that they compete with.”

Vestager stated Google Shopping is another illustration of her concerns. In 2017, she fined Google for directing customers to its service which lets people compare products from all over the internet over rival online buying services.

That $2.7 billion nice and others have assembled Vestager’s reputation as Silicon Valley’s top nemesis across the pond. And in a time when many American politicians are only talking about antitrust and reining in Big Tech, Vestager has built a record on taking action. She also fined that the search engine a record-setting $5 billion for forcing Android cellphone manufacturers to pre-install the Google search program and Chromeapp on the telephones.

As 2020 Democratic presidential candidates led the conversation at South by Southwest toward how they’d regulate the technology business, there was possibly no longer appropriate season for Vestager to attend the festival.

However, her approach differs from that of presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that gave an impassioned pitch at the festival to get her plan to break up Substantial Tech.

When asked about Warren’s plan, Vestager said Europe could also attempt to split up the firms through legislation.

Warren, D-Mass., and Vestager are concerned about the same competition issue, though. In our interview,” Warren stated she wished to split up Amazon therefore it couldn’t use the data it collects from sellers to compete with them.

“It is like in baseball. You may be the umpire; that’s like the platform,” Warren said. “Or you can own the group; that’s among those companies. However, you don’t have to be the umpire and own the group from the league.”

As Vestager looks long-term at the job she wishes to perform to ensure European governments are ready to handle competition issues involving technology, she informs me she is closely observing the hearings the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is holding how the agency needs to address digital challenges.

“I really enjoy this approach, they get a stock taking,” she explained. “We’re interested as coworkers and colleagues out of my services will probably come over and have a listening ear.”

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