Next week, Amazon is scheduled to meet with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as the agency contemplates filing an anticipated antitrust lawsuit against the retail giant. A reliable source familiar with the matter disclosed this development.
Amazon and FTC Antitrust Lawsuit – Background
The FTC’s investigation into Amazon commenced during the Trump administration and has primarily centered around allegations of the company’s preferential treatment of its own products over those of third-party sellers on its platform. Amazon staunchly denies these claims, along with other accusations leveled against it.
The FTC, as customary, declined to comment on the specifics of the planned meeting. Nevertheless, it is a typical practice for the agency to engage in discussions with companies under investigation before reaching a decision on initiating legal action. The scrutiny of Amazon is part of a larger investigation that was originally launched by both the Justice Department and the FTC under the Trump administration. The investigation aimed at four tech giants, namely Alphabet’s Google, Meta’s Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. These companies have been under the microscope to determine if their business practices violated antitrust laws.
A crucial aspect of the investigation came to light with a comprehensive report from a House panel. The report detailed how the four tech giants had established dominance in their respective industries. It raised concerns about potential anti-competitive practices and market manipulation. The Justice Department has already taken legal action against Google, filing two separate lawsuits, one pertaining to its search business and the other related to its advertising technology.
Similarly, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Meta’s Facebook. However, as of now, none of these cases have proceeded to trial. In June, the FTC brought another standalone lawsuit against Amazon. The accusation was enrolling millions of consumers into Amazon Prime without explicit consent, making cancellation difficult. Amazon vehemently disputed these allegations, asserting that they were unfounded both factually and legally.
Additionally, in a separate incident in June, Amazon reached a $5.8 million settlement with the FTC in relation to its Ring doorbell camera unit. The company faced allegations of using the device to spy on certain customers. Amazon also resolved another matter with the FTC, agreeing to pay $25 million to settle allegations that it violated children’s privacy rights. The accusations claimed that Amazon had failed to delete Alexa recordings upon request from parents and had retained them for longer than necessary.
Amazon FTC Antitrust Lawsuit Imminent
As the FTC and the Department of Justice tighten their grip on the four tech giants, it appears that the long-awaited antitrust lawsuit on Amazon is imminent. The upcoming meeting with the FTC next week could serve as a pivotal moment in determining whether the agency will proceed with the legal action against Amazon. As the situation unfolds, both Amazon and the regulators involved will have much at stake in the fight for fair competition and consumer protection in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Amazon’s stock price surged by 2.29% today, reaching 141.86 USD.