• Market Crumbs

The European Commission Isn't Happy With Amazon


Image via Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash

Amazon is no stranger to facing pressure from regulators and yesterday brought more of the same.


The European Commission informed Amazon that it had, in its view, breached European Union antitrust laws by using its position to gain an unfair advantage over competitors. The Commission believes Amazon is using non-public third-party seller data to unfairly compete with those third party sellers.


"The Commission's preliminary view, outlined in its Statement of Objections, is that the use of non-public marketplace seller data allows Amazon to avoid the normal risks of retail competition and to leverage its dominance in the market for the provision of marketplace services in France and Germany- the biggest markets for Amazon in the EU," the Commission said in a statement.


In the words of Margrethe Vestager, the Commission's executive vice president in charge of competition, the case is about big data.


"Our concerns are not only about the insights Amazon Retail has into the sensitive business data of one particular seller," Vestager said. "Rather, they are about the insights that Amazon Retail has about the accumulated business data of more than 800,000 active sellers in the EU, covering more than a billion different products. In other words, the case is about big data."


The Commission also opened a second probe into whether Amazon gives preferential treatment to marketplace sellers that use the company's logistics and delivery services.


Amazon could be on the hook for a fine of 10% of its global revenues if found guilty of violating competition laws. Such a fine could amount to nearly $30 billion based on Amazon's latest full year sales of more than $280 billion.

Amazon disputed the Commission's allegations and said it would "continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts."


"No company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon," Amazon said. "There are more than 150,000 European businesses selling through our stores that generate tens of billions of Euros in revenues annually and have created hundreds of thousands of jobs."


As Amazon continues to grow in dominance so too does the pressure it faces from regulators across the world.


Leftover Crumbs

  • Pizza Hut teams up with Beyond Meat. Pizza Hut is teaming up with Beyond Meat to launch the Beyond Pan Pizzas, the Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza and the Great Beyond Pizza. The partnership makes Pizza Hut the first national pizza chain to offer a plant-based meat pizza. "I'd challenge anyone to go try the new Beyond Pan Pizza and tell the difference. I shared it with friends and family, and they couldn't," Pizza Hut chief brand officer David Graves said. "The Beyond Italian Sausage is rich, juicy and has the signature Pizza Hut flavors—pizza lovers everywhere are going to love it."

  • Peloton strikes deal with Beyonce. Peloton has signed a multiyear partnership with singer-songwriter Beyonce, who is the most popular artist on the Peloton platform, to create exclusive content and curate classes. "Beyonce and Peloton worked closely to create a series of themed workout experiences ... across multiple fitness categories, including indoor cycling, running, strength, bootcamp, yoga and meditation," Peloton said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Ulta to open shops in Target. Ulta Beauty and Target have agreed to a partnership that will see Ulta put 1,000 square foot makeup and skincare shops in Target stores. Target said more than 100 stores will open the "shop-in-shop" in 2021 with hundreds more to follow in the coming years. "This matchup brings Ulta Beauty's coveted prestige beauty assortment, category expertise and guest loyalty together with Target’s high-growth beauty business and the ease and convenience of our industry-leading fulfillment services," Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said.

  • Adobe acquires Workfront. Adobe has entered an agreement to acquire Workfront, which offers a work management platform for marketers, for $1.5 billion. The two companies are already partners with more than 1,000 shared customers. "Adobe and Workfront share a common affinity to help the modern marketer thrive in an ever-evolving, increasingly demanding setting," Workfront CEO Alex Shootman said. "We're excited to join Adobe and believe this will be a tremendous opportunity for our customers and partners."

  • Boring Company eyes Austin. Elon Musk's The Boring Company has posted a handful of jobs located in Austin, Texas that hint the company may be looking to dig a "hyperloop" in the area. "Rumor has it that 'Austin Chalk' is geologically one of best soils for tunneling," The Boring Company tweeted. "Want to find out? Austin jobs now available." The company has received approval to build a tunnel in Las Vegas and is pending approvals for others in Los Angeles and between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.