European regulators are tough on companies trying to monopolize a market, and have come down hard on companies like Facebook and Google. One tech giant that perhaps evokes monopolizing ideas is Amazon. The retail heavyweight has changed industries both online and offline. Now German regulators are investigating Amazon.
Amazon has massive clout across the e-commerce industry. With such a long reach, there have been plenty of allegations of bad practices, such as stifling small retailers.
Germany is escalating anti-trust investigations against Amazon. The country's Federal Cartel Office has opened a formal probe against Amazon's practices. Germany's regulator for market competitions says it has received numerous complaints.
Specifically, Amazon has been accused of placing stifling restrictions on businesses that sell on their website.
Federal Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt said Amazon's size and reach could harm smaller sellers:
“Amazon acts as a kind of ‘gatekeeper' to customers. The double role as biggest trader and biggest marketplace means there is a potential to impede other traders on the platform.”
Among the core points of the investigation are Amazon's apparent lack of transparency when it removes vendors for payment delays. Shipping conditions imposed on smaller businesses is also under scrutiny by German authorities.
Amazon is currently facing problems in Europe after employees in Spain and Germany held a strike during the Black Friday weekend. Those workers are demanding better working conditions and increased wages.
The company has yet to comment on Germany's investigation. However, the company will be eager to avoid major punishment considering the country is Amazon's second biggest market.