Competition Bureau launches probe of Amazon, seeks input from businesses

Competition Bureau launches probe of Amazon, seeks input from businesses
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OTTAWA — The Competition Bureau has launched a new probe into Amazon’s conduct to determine whether the online retailer is harming competition.

The investigation, which is seeking confidential information from Canadian businesses, will include a particular focus on “potential abuse of dominance.”

The competition watchdog is reviewing whether Amazon policies impact sellers’ willingness to offer their products at a lower price on other retail channels, such as their own websites or other online marketplaces.

It is also looking into any efforts by Amazon to tilt consumers toward products it sells over those offered by third-party vendors, as well as potential obstacles that sellers confront when opting out of Amazon’s shipping and advertising services.

The bureau’s request for public input comes amid rising concerns of monopoly power in the tech world and questions around the use of sellers’ data to create rival products.

Amazon says it is co-operating with the bureau’s probe and will continue working to support small businesses who sell products on Amazon.ca.

The Competition Bureau says its investigation is ongoing and there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this point.

The bureau’s request for public input comes amid rising concerns of monopoly power in the tech world and questions around the use of sellers’ data to create rival products.

In July 2019, the European Commission launched a formal antitrust investigation into Amazon to examine whether its data use violates competition rules, while the U.S. Department of Justice has opened one into major online platforms including Google, Facebook and Apple.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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