Following a report accusing Amazon of secretly using internal data from its marketplace to copy products sold by other companies and manipulate search results, a group of US Senators announced plans to introduce a nondiscrimination bill that could restructure Amazon’s online marketplace.
According to The Verge, the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would prohibit platforms such as Amazon, Apple, and Google from using their online dominance to disadvantage other businesses.
“When dominant tech companies exclude rivals & kill competition, it hurts small businesses and can increase costs for YOU,” Klobuchar said in a tweet on Thursday.
“My new bipartisan legislation with Grassley will establish new rules of the road to prevent large companies from boxing out their smaller competitors,” he added.
Amazon has long been accused of anti-competitive behaviour by third-party sellers.
The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) and the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in India have condemned Amazon’s “predatory playbook” of allegedly copying, rigging, and killing Indian brands, urging the government to intervene immediately.
CAIT National President B.C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal have demanded that the CBI conduct an immediate investigation into the charges made in the report.
A Reuters report had revealed that Amazon team in India “secretly exploited internal data from Amazon.in to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform”, and also “rigged Amazon’s search results” so that the company’s products would appear on top.
According to Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director of ADIF, the case highlights Amazon’s flagrant disregard for competition laws, intellectual property rights, and despicable predatory practises.
“The manner in which the e-commerce giant has targeted the Indian market and leading brands in the country is highly deplorable and brings into question the credibility of Amazon as a good faith operator in the Indian startup ecosystem,” George said.
According to the report, one of the victims of Amazon’s anti-competitive practises was a popular shirt brand in India called John Miller, which is owned by the Kishore Biyani-founded Future Group, which is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Amazon.
Amazon is also being investigated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged anti-competitive practises, as well as the Enforcement Directorate for violating domestic laws.
The Directorate General of Goods and Service Tax Intelligence (DGGI) has also issued a show-cause notice to Cloudtail, one of its subsidiaries, for GST and indirect tax evasion.