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Amazon begins selling groceries in Germany

Online retailer Amazon began selling food on its German website Thursday, offering some 35,000 different products including vegetables, meat, fish, baked goods, deli items and regional specialties.

Amazon begins selling groceries in Germany
Photo: DPA

“That’s the largest selection of groceries to be found online in Germany,” Amazon manager Christian Bubenheim said.

The company, which originally started out selling books and has expanded to encompass most of the retail spectrum, has teamed with 60 partners for the new food offerings.

Other items include organic and fair trade products, Mediterranean specialties and a large selection of wine. But customers who buy from more than one vendor still only get one bill, the company said.

“The ease of purchase was particularly important to us,” Bubenheim said.

Delivery for the edibles will remain the same as Amazon’s normal service in the country, which is free for bills larger than €20.

In Frankfurt and Berlin the company will even guarantee same-day delivery for orders made before 11 am.

While the dot-com era saw the failure of many online grocery operations, faster internet connections and the ability to better present the products have created better conditions for success, Bubenheim said.

The company already offers the service in the US.

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AMAZON

Germany opens ‘anti-competition’ probe into Amazon with tougher law

Germany's competition authority said Tuesday it had opened an inquiry into online retail giant Amazon over potential "anti-competitive practices", using a new law giving regulators more power to rein in big tech companies.

Germany opens 'anti-competition' probe into Amazon with tougher law
An Amazon warehouse in Brandenburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Patrick Pleul

Federal Cartel Office head Andreas Mundt said his office is examining whether Amazon has “an almost unchallengeable position of economic power” and whether it “operates across various markets”.

If so, it would be deemed of “paramount significance”, said Mundt, adding that the regulator could “take early action against and prohibit possible anti-competitive practices by Amazon”.

“This could apply to Amazon with its online marketplaces and many other, above all digital offers,” he added.

Under the amendment to Germany’s competition law passed in January, the watchdog said it now has more power to “intervene earlier and more effectively” against big tech companies, rather than simply punishing them for abuses of their dominant market position.

READ ALSO: ‘I want to know origin of my grapes’: Amazon loses fruit and veg ruling in German court

The German reform coincided with new EU draft legislation unveiled in December aimed at curbing the power of the internet behemoths that could shake up the way Silicon Valley can operate in the 27-nation bloc.

The push to tighten legislation comes as big tech companies are facing increasing scrutiny around the globe, including in the United States, where Google and Facebook are facing antitrust suits.

The Amazon probe is only the second time that Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has made use of its new powers, after first employing them to widen the scope of an investigation into Facebook over its integration of virtual reality headsets.

The watchdog already has two traditional abuse control proceedings open against Amazon.

One involves the company’s use of algorithms to influence the pricing of third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace, while another is probing the extent to which Amazon and major producers such as Apple exclude third parties from
selling brand products.

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