The European Commission (EC) has revealed more details of its antitrust investigation into Amazon's ebook contracts with publishers, explaining that the focus of the investigation will be in Germany and the UK.
The EC first announced the launch of the investigation last week, saying it was concerned Amazon places clauses in its contracts with publishers that require them to inform Amazon if any competitors offer “more favourable or alternative terms”.
Speaking on Monday, Margrethe Vestager, EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, gave some more insight into the rationale behind launching the investigation.
"We want to make sure that the contracts that publishers sign with Amazon do not prevent rival platforms from bringing smarter, more efficient, and more innovative services to consumers," she said at a speech in Paris.
"In other words, Amazon should not use its strong position to close the door behind it and prevent companies with new ideas from contesting the market.
"Our investigation will focus on the English- and German-language markets because these are Europe’s largest and most developed markets for e-books."
We want to make sure that the contracts that publishers sign with Amazon do not prevent rival platforms from bringing smarter, more efficient, and more innovative services to consumers.
In other words, Amazon should not use its strong position to close the door behind it and prevent companies with new ideas from contesting the market.
Amazon said last week that it is confident that its contracts with publishers are "legal and in the best interests of readers".
"We look forward to demonstrating this to the Commission as we cooperate fully during this process," the firm added.
The EC has taken on the e-book market before when it opened proceedings against Apple and five publishing houses after concerns that they had "colluded to limit retail price competition for e-books in the EEA in breach of EU antitrust rules".
The firms involved eventually made concessions that removed these concerns.
Amazon is the latest tech giant that the EC is taking on, having announced earlier this year that it has opened formal investigations into Google to determine whether the firm abuses its search dominance to benefit its shopping service.
"In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules," Vestager said in April.
A new RSA report urges coders to sign a 'Hippocratic Oath' before embarking on AI programmes.
IT security vendor believes APT33 is working for the Iranian government
Darktrace pushes machine learning to take some of the pressure off of IT and security teams
Google also gets its hands on HTC's IP in a non-exclusive deal