Amazon will change the way it presents offers from multiple sellers in the all-important “Buy Box” on product pages as part of a broader agreement resolving multiple antitrust issues raised by European Commission.
The company agreed to prominently display a second competing offer to customers in Europe, if that second offer is significantly different from the one initially featured in the Buy Box. When selected by the customer, the second offer will then move into the Buy Box, as illustrated in filings by Amazon in the European Commission case.
Amazon’s commitment and the resulting change apply in Europe only, but the case could provide a blueprint for regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere seeking to level the playing field for sellers on Amazon.com.
The European Commission earlier this year issued a preliminary conclusion that “Amazon’s rules and criteria for the Buy Box and Prime unduly favour its own retail business, as well as marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services,” as explained in the commission’s news release announcing the resolution.
“We are pleased that we have addressed the European Commission’s concerns and resolved these matters,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “While we continue to disagree with several of the preliminary conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively to ensure that we can continue to serve customers across Europe and support the 225,000 European small and medium sized businesses selling through our stores.”
Update: Jason Del Rey of Vox, quoting an anonymous former Amazon manager, reports that the Buy Box change is something the company has been considering since 2018, and is not much of a concession given that it’s something Amazon “probably would have done anyway.”
To resolve additional EU antitrust concerns, Amazon also committed not to use non-public data about third-party sellers to the benefit of its own retail business; and to give third-party sellers the ability to freely choose alternative logistics and delivery services for their products, without preferencing Amazon logistics.
For more, see these European Commission case files: AT.40462 and AT.40703.