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German Antitrust Office Puts Amazon In Crosshairs

Amazon’s business practices have come under scrutiny in Germany, with the Federal Cartel Office examining whether the online retail giant is exploiting its dominant market position.

Germany’s new laws for large digital companies allow it to intervene earlier and more effectively, says the watchdog, including prohibiting companies of “paramount significance for competition across markets” from engaging in anti-competitive practices such as preferencing their own services.

Andreas Mundt

According to Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office, the new investigation is examining whether Amazon is indeed of “paramount significance for competition across markets”.

“An ecosystem which extends across various markets and thus constitutes an almost unchallengeable position of economic power is particularly characteristic in this respect. This could apply to Amazon with its online marketplaces and many other, above all digital offers.

“If we find that the company does have such a market position, we could take early action against and prohibit possible anti-competitive practices by Amazon,” he said.

Amazon is tied up in an antitrust case brought by the European Commission, which has stalled after two years, while the US Congress released a report last year slamming it and other big tech companies for anti-competitive practices.

The German Federal Cartel Office also initiated abuse proceedings against Facebook this year for the linkage between its networks and Oculus VR.

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