Amazon might face restrictions, German antitrust adviser says

A worker picks an item for a customer’s order at an Amazon.com Inc fulfillment center in Peterborough, UK (Bloomberg pic)

FRANKFURT: Amazon.com Inc is combining some offerings in a way similar to Alphabet Inc’s Google and could face sanctions in order to safeguard competition rules, the chairman of Germany’s Monopolies Commission Achim Wambach told Welt am Sonntag in an interview.

“One could think in the direction of an unbundling on a product level at Amazon,” Wambach said. “Amazon Prime connects different services as well” and only subscribers can view certain films or series, he said, referring to the company’s membership program.

Germany’s Monopolies Commission is an expert panel that advises the country’s federal government.

Last year, the European Union fined Google 4.3 billion euros (US$4.86 billion) for breaching antitrust rules as the US giant imposed restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager told reporters earlier this month that an early-stage probe into Amazon’s potential use of data to overtake smaller shops on its Marketplace platform is “quite advanced” and she’d “like to take more decisive steps” before she leaves office later this year.