Amazon under investigation in Europe

Amazon found itself under even more pressure in Europe, as the European Commission opens another antitrust investigation into the retailer’s e-book business, Reuters reports on Thursday.

The company is already being investigated in Luxembourg, for the low tax rates it pays there.

The Commission said it would look in particular into certain clauses included in Amazon's contracts with publishers. Those clauses required publishers to inform Amazon if they had given better deals to other shops, Amazon’s competitors. That way Amazon wanted to make sure it has gotten terms at least as good as the competition.

The Commission said this could violate EU antitrust rules that prohibit abuses of a dominant market position and restrictive business practices, but Amazon says the agreements are legal and are in the best interest of the readers.

"We look forward to demonstrating this to the Commission as we cooperate fully during this process," it said.

The Commission said it is concerned the clauses in contracts may make it more difficult for other e-book distributors to compete with Amazon by developing new and innovative products and services.

"Amazon has developed a successful business that offers consumers a comprehensive service, including for e-books," Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

"Our investigation does not call that into question. However, it is my duty to make sure that Amazon's arrangements with publishers are not harmful to consumers, by preventing other e-book distributors from innovating and competing effectively with Amazon."

Amazon’s pricing policy has been under investigation by German antitrust regulators back in 2013, as well.