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‘Leading online marketplaces’ face scrutiny in the US over anti-competitive practices

By Sasha Fedorenko July 24, 2019 - 12:04 pm

Leading online marketplaces” are coming under fire over alleged anti-competitive practices on their platforms.

What seems like a recurring problem of online marketplaces facing scrutiny as their business practices appear questionable in the eyes of competition watchdogs, leading to two questions. First, how much of healthy competition is propagated by dominant platforms? Second, are marketplace sellers suffering at hands of the overdominant marketplace hosts which set unfair trading environment?

Last week saw Amazon overhauling their seller agreement to the verdict in a dominance abuse investigation by the German competition watchdog.

The Department of Justice is taking similar action in its efforts to examine dominance abuse on “leading online marketplaces.” The US competition watchdog is launching a formal antitrust investigation to review their achieved market power and whether it is used instrumentally to reduce competition and innovation.

The Department’s review will consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online.

The Department’s Antitrust Division is conferring with and seeking information from the public, including industry participants who have direct insight into competition in online platforms, as well as others.

The watchdog aims to assess the competitive conditions on intermediary platforms in the bid to create an even playing field driven by competitive ecosystem which boosts innovation. If violations of law are identified, the Department will proceed appropriately to seek redress.

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