Europe launches formal investigation into Amazon's eBook contracts

Europe launches formal investigation into Amazon's eBook contracts

The European Commission has launched a formal investigation into the American web shop Amazon, which has allegedly abused its position of power to sell eBooks.

Clauses which stifled competition

The European Commission has launched an official investigation into internet giant Amazon's contracts with eBook publishers. Those apparently contain clauses that force the publisher to inform Amazon about the conditions its competitors get. This enabled Amazon to get the best deals all the time.

 

"Amazon has developed a successful business that offers consumers a comprehensive service, including for e-books. Our investigation does not call that into question. However, it is my duty to make sure that Amazon's arrangements with publishers are not harmful to consumers, by preventing other e-book distributors from innovating and competing effectively with Amazon" Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. "Our research will show whether those concerns are legitimate."

 

This research reminds of the months-long dispute between Amazon and publisher Hachette about the pricing of its eBooks. In the end, Hachette prevailed.

 

Amazon is not the only American superpower that has come into focus at the European antitrust authorities: Google already received backlash two months ago when it abused its position with its search engine. Europe is still researching tax deals, with Amazon, Apple and Starbucks as prime examples. Amazon has seemingly learned its lesson in that regard.

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