The Federal Trade Commission might soon file an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon Inc., amid allegations of the company engaging in anti-competitive practices, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Federal regulators have been monitoring Amazon's practices for a few years, in terms of how the company treats outside sellers on Amazon.com, and how in-house Amazon products are featured against competitors sharing the same platform space, the Journal writes.
There are also reports of Amazon Prime's subscription service being called into question, concerning how the service gets incorporated into "bundle" packages, according to the Journal.
Amazon didn't respond directly to the Journal story. However, in the past, the company has maintained that it competes fairly with customers and sellers on its platform.
A potential lawsuit against Amazon could present an interesting dilemma for FTC Chair Lina Khan.
According to the Journal, Khan once claimed in an academic paper that Amazon had "amassed too much market power" and that antitrust law had failed to restrain it.
And in 2020, Meta, Google, Apple, and Amazon were reportedly part of a 16-month congressional antitrust investigation, detailing anti-competitive behavior among tech giants.
The House Antitrust Subcommittee's report, which had Khan sitting on the panel, determined that Amazon had "monopoly power" over sellers on its site, bullied retail partners, and improperly implemented seller data to compete with competitors.
In a congressional blog post marking that period, Amazon warned U.S. government officials that any "ill-conceived ideas" about regulating its platform could become harmful to consumers and small sellers.
"All large organizations attract the attention of regulators, and we welcome that scrutiny," Amazon officials noted in a statement. "But large companies are not dominant by definition, and the presumption that success can only be the result of anti-competitive behavior is simply wrong."
In 2020, the FTC also sued Facebook, amid allegations of buying and freezing out small startups to halt competition.
That case remains pending.
As a counter argument, Meta Platforms, Inc., Facebook's parent company, reasoned that its acquisitions had been good for competition and even more advantageous for the customers using the products.
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