This has not been a great week for American tech companies trying to do business in Europe. First, Google got in trouble over allegedly anticompetitive search practices and its policy on Street View data retention. Now, German antitrust authorities are looking at the way in which eBay has supported PayPal.
John Oates explained earlier today, "eBay.de recently asked sellers with low feedback points to offer PayPal. The company justified the move because it said the number of bad buying experiences is twice as high from sellers with less than 50 feedback points than the average."
But some people are less than pleased with the change, and as a result, "[T]he German Federal Cartel Office is investigating complaints made against eBay over this tying policy."
Since the promotion of PayPal should increase its market share and help eBay earn more money, they may have a point. eBay’s liable to have trouble arguing that there’s no other way it could protect buyers, at least.
As always, we’ll see what happens. German authorities haven’t yet launched a full investigation or given an indication which way they’re leaning. eBay, for its part, is still more in "dialogue" than "sound the alarm" mode.