• Regulators in Europe have zeroed in on a specific part of Amazon‘s business that they say could be anti-competitive.
  • The scrutiny involves the company’s dual role as both a direct retailer — buying goods wholesale and selling them to consumers — and as a platform for other retailers to sell their goods.The issue is the data and how Amazon uses it.
  • In the United States, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has had a similar take on Amazon’s role.
  • Amazon’s third-party marketplace is core to its retail growth, and if regulation should curtail it, the company’s future growth could be impacted.

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European regulators have set Amazon in their sights.

Germany’s competition watchdog — the Federal Cartel Office, or the Bundeskartellamt — announced on Thursday that it had opened an investigation into Amazon.

“Its double role as the largest retailer and largest marketplace has the potential to hinder other sellers on its platform,” Andreas Mundt, the president of the FCO, said in a statement. “Because of the many complaints we have received we will examine whether Amazon is abusing its market position to the detriment of sellers active on its marketplace. We will scrutinize its terms of business and practices towards sellers.”

In a statement to Business Insider on Thursday, Amazon said that it would not comment on ongoing investigations, but pledged to “cooperate fully with the Bundeskartellamt and continue working hard to support small and medium-sized businesses and help them…