Amazon Faces EU Data Inquiry; Apple Will Fund Podcasts

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The Ecom Advantage

The EU’s top antitrust regulator, Margrethe Vestager, opened an investigation into whether Amazon unfairly collects or uses data to promote its own products at the expense of other retailers or manufacturers. “Ecommerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices,” Vestager said. “We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anticompetitive behavior.” The announcement came on the same day as a settlement between Amazon and the German data regulator over the platform’s treatment of third-party sellers. Amazon will face tougher rules when it comes to blocking outside products on its platform and will have to cover more costs for reimbursement in Germany, The New York Times reports. More

Apple Makes Noise

Apple has been notoriously slow innovating its podcast platform, even though so much listening happened through its app. But that’s changing. As the hardware giant faces growing competition from apps like Spotify and Stitcher, it will start to invest in original content exclusive to its platform for the first time, Bloomberg reports. The move reflects a broader shift at Apple to monetize content and services accessed through its hardware. The company is producing a slate of movies and TV shows for its forthcoming streaming service, Apple TV+, which will launch this year. At Spotify, which has spent $400 million this year to be the second-largest podcast listening platform, shares were down 2.7% on the news. More.

Check The Archives

Google’s political ads archive, a searchable database introduced last year, is plagued by errors and delays. Digital media staffers from the campaigns for Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren ran recent campaigns that didn’t show up in the Google archive, The Wall Street Journal reports. And other candidates’ ads also seem to be missing, or are infrequently updated. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have had sponsored placements in Gmail, despite the email service’s policy against political ads. Political buyers can also avoid detection by using third-party ad tech. These aren’t examples of foul play, but expose Google to criticism. “If even the political advertisers that expect to be included in the archive are not seeing their ads made publicly available, how much is escaping disclosure by actors who want to stay secret?” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform for the campaign finance reform group the Campaign Legal Center. More.

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