EU starts probe into Amazon after slapping Google and Apple with fines

Amazon could be the European Union’s next target over antitrust violations.

The trade bloc’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday that it has started a preliminary investigation into the e-commerce giant over potential antitrust violations.

Vestager made the comments during a press conference in Brussels after a journalist asked her if the EU suspected any foul play from the company, as first reported by Business Insider.

Vestager did confirm that her team had launched a preliminary investigation into how the company was using data from third-party sellers, but said no formal inquiry has been launched.

"The question here is about the data, because if you as Amazon get the data from the smaller merchants that you host – which can be of course completely legitimate because you can improve your service to these smaller merchants – well, do you then also use this data to do your own calculations? What is the new big thing, what is it that people want, what kind of offers do they like to receive, what makes them buy things,” she said Wednesday.

The news comes months after President Trump told Bloomberg that he believes Amazon, Google and Facebook could represent a “very antitrust situation.”

"As you know, many people think it is a very antitrust situation, the three of them," Trump told Bloomberg in August.

Earlier this month, news broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is exploring the possibility of an investigation into whether U.S. tech giants are violating antitrust laws that are meant to prevent companies from abusing their power to make the market less competitive.

In July, the EU slapped Google with a $5.1 billion fine for unfairly pushing its apps on smartphone users and thwarting competitors. EU officials fined Apple in August 2016 after the trade bloc said the company benefited from illegal tax benefits in Ireland from 2003 to 2014. Apple finished paying back the Irish government on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Amazon did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment on Vestager’s remarks.