Amazon became the target of an antitrust investigation by the European Union on Wednesday over its use of merchants’ data, underlining the increasing regulatory scrutiny about how tech companies exploit customers’ information.
The European Commission has been seeking feedback from retailers and manufacturers since September into Amazon’s dual role as a marketplace for merchants and acting as a competitor following complaints from traders about Amazon’s practices.
The Commission said its investigation would focus on Amazon’s standard agreements with marketplace sellers and its use of data in choosing winners of the “buy box”, which allows consumers to add items from a specific retailer directly to their shopping carts.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who can fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover, said the issue was crucial as more and more Europeans shop online.
“E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior,” she said.
Amazon said it would cooperate fully with the EU investigation. The company reached a deal with Germany’s antitrust authority on Wednesday to overhaul its terms of service for third-party merchants.
Under its terms of service for Europe here set out on its website, merchants grant Amazon “royalty-free” rights to use in a range of ways their materials, such as technology, trademarks, content and product information.
“There have been concerns around the world that competition authorities have failed to appreciate the market power that comes from ownership of data,” he said.
In Amazon’s case, he said the Commission needed to show “the standard agreements with retailers were anti-competitive in somehow allowing Amazon to use the data to manipulate market outcomes, or that Amazon had in some way abused its dominance.”
The Commission had been struggling to define the market in which Amazon operates in order to identify where the competitive harm could have been, sources said.
This would not be Amazon’s first run-in with the Commission. Two years ago, it was told to pay back taxes of about 250 million euros ($280 million) to Luxembourg because of illegal tax benefits. That same year it settled with the regulator over its distribution deals with e-book publishers in Europe.
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England dropped Sterling after Gomez altercation
England and Machester city player Raheem Sterling has been dropped ahead of Euro 2020 qualifer match against Montenegro.
England Football Association took to social media to confirm that Sterling had been dropped “as a result of a disturbance in a private team area”.
Sterling and Gomez had an on-field altercation during the Reds’ 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Sunday.
But sterling has qunch the fire via his Instagram account on Tuesday, by stating “Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,” Sterling said via his Instagram account on Tuesday.
“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it
“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.
England boss Gareth Southgate said on Monday: “Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw.
“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.
“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken.
“Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.”
Groups criticise Kenya’s census figures
Groups has criticised the released Kenya’s population census figures stating that the results are not accurate.
It found that the total population of the country is now 47.6 million, nine million more than in 2009.
But some regions have experienced a decrease in population.
These outcomes can be hugely controversial because the size of the local population has important implications for the level of government funding they receive.
Kenya’s population is made up of many different ethnic groups, closely aligned to competing political parties.
The government has yet to release all the data on the ethnic composition of the country, but the changes in population in certain regions from this latest census have already caused arguments.
The outcome of such surveys can embolden or weaken claims made by groups for political representation or resources.
In one area of the north-east territories bordering Ethiopia and Somalia, the census indicates a decrease in the population, prompting local political leaders looking to retain funding for their provinces to question the veracity of the survey
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