Competition law regulators across the EU continue to focus on online selling. One issue that resulted in numerous investigations is the use of most favoured nation (MFN) clauses.
On 4 May 2017, the Commission adopted a decision accepting commitments from Amazon addressing concerns relating to a number of MFN clauses in Amazon's distribution agreements with e-book publishers in the EU. Amazon will no longer enforce or introduce the clauses in agreements with publishers
The clauses required publishers to offer Amazon similar (or better) terms and conditions as those offered to its competitors and/or to inform Amazon about more favourable or alternative terms given to Amazon's competitors (hence, they were MFN clauses). The clauses covered price and many aspects a competitor can use to differentiate itself from Amazon, such as an alternative business (distribution) model, an innovative e-book or a promotion.
The Commission considered that such clauses could make it more difficult for other e-book platforms to compete with Amazon by reducing publishers' and competitors' ability and incentives to develop new and innovative e-books and alternative distribution services.