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EU Plans Anti-Trust Charges Against Amazon: Report

Critics accuse Amazon of promoting its products ahead of similar ones from third-party sellers and of copying their products.
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The European Union is reportedly set to file formal anti-trust charges against online retail colossus Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Free Report, alleging mistreatment of third-party sellers who use its platform.

The charges could be officially filed as soon as next week, a source familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. It should take at least a year for a decision to be rendered on the charges, the paper said.

Amazon has faced allegations of abuse of third-party sellers all over the world, but this is believed to be the first time it has faced legal action.

Critics accuse Amazon of promoting its products ahead of similar ones from third-party sellers and of copying their products. A Journal story in April cited former Amazon employees who said the company used data about third-party sellers to develop competing products.

The EU has been looking into the issue for almost two years. In the U.S., the House Judiciary Committee began an antitrust probe of big technology companies, including Amazon, about a year ago.

The company also faces antitrust investigations by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy is bullish on the company.

“Amazon's disruption of the retail industry is well documented, but the company continues to find ways to evolve its business model,” he wrote in a commentary last month.

“Its operational efficiency, network effect, and a brand intangible asset give its marketplaces sustainable competitive advantages that few, if any, traditional retailers can match.”

Amazon shares recently traded at $2,605.00, down 1.60%, and have jumped 40% over the last three months.