German watchdog launches new investigation into Amazon: report

In this news, we discuss the German watchdog launches new investigation into Amazon: report.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The German antitrust authority has opened an investigation into Amazon and Apple into possible anti-competitive behavior, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

Amazon prohibits certain third-party merchants on its e-commerce platform from offering certain branded products, and the German Federal Cartel Office is examining whether this complies with German law.

“For some brands, all merchants except Amazon itself and the manufacturer of the respective brand are excluded,” the newspaper said, citing the chairman of the cartel office, Andreas Mundt.

Amazon said it is cooperating with German authorities, adding that it is continually investing to protect its store from illegitimate goods.

Apple and the Federal Cartel Office were not immediately available for comment.

The agreements could offer protection against product piracy. However, bans on third-party resellers must “respect the principle of proportionality and must not lead to the elimination of competition,” Mundt said.

The most prominent example is Amazon’s cooperation with mobile phone maker Apple, which only Apple and Amazon dealers can offer on the platform, he said.

The new investigation into Amazon’s treatment of third-party resellers comes after Germany’s competition watchdog launched an investigation in August to find out if and how Amazon influences the pricing of merchants in its market.

Germany is Amazon’s second-largest market after the United States. In Germany, third-party traders accounted for 65% of sales from March to May 2020.

Amazon last year reached an agreement with German authorities to revise its terms of service for third-party merchants, which prompted the bureau to drop a seven-month investigation.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Edited by Cynthia Osterman

Original © Thomson Reuters Corporation

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