The FTC has started questioning Amazon’s rivals about the online retail giant’s business practices, according to a Tuesday report.
On Saturday, the Post reported that the FTC will have jurisdiction over Amazon for potential anticompetitive practices, while the DOJ recently announced an antitrust investigation into Google.
Vox reported Tuesday that the FTC has already started questioning Amazon’s rivals about the e-commerce giant’s business practices, which arises as the agency’s Bureau of Competition announced February that it created a new task force dedicated to “monitoring competition in U.S. technology markets, investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct in those markets, and taking enforcement actions when warranted.”
Recode reportedly learned that the FTC has not launched a formal investigation of Amazon, nor does it mean that it would focus on Amazon’s relationship with its competitors if it were to launch an investigation into the online retail giant.
The three areas the FTC will investigate Amazon’s business practices include:
- Amazon’s logistics service and fulfillment services. Amazon charges sellers 75 percent more if they were to ship products out to a customer who bought the product on competing platforms such as Etsy, eBay, or the seller’s own online store compared to Amazon’s platform.
- Amazon allows small and mid-sized businesses to sell to Amazon customers through the Amazon Marketplace; however, Amazon also aggressively promotes their own products in comparison to its competitors. Free-market proponents might contend that private businesses should be able to sell their own products on their own platforms, while others might argue this would make it harder for smaller businesses to compete on Amazon’s platform. Lawmakers such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that America should consider the Amazon Marketplace as more of a “platform utility” where Amazon cannot directly compete with competitors on its own platform.
- Amazon prime bundling of services. The FTC has reportedly gained interest in Amazon’s bundling of services under its Amazon Prime package of services, contending that Amazon Prime’s bundling makes it hard for individual services and companies to compete with the Amazon Prime package.
As the FTC continues to look into Amazon’s business practices, the House Judiciary Committee, led by chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), has launched a “top-to-bottom” investigation into America’s largest tech companies.