Amazon finds itself in the crosshairs of the FTC and 17 states, facing accusations of engaging in illegal conduct and monopolistic practices within its online store and merchant services.
According to the FTC, “The complaint alleges that Amazon violates the law not because it is big, but because it engages in a course of exclusionary conduct that prevents current competitors from growing and new competitors from emerging. By stifling competition on price, product selection, quality, and by preventing its current or future rivals from attracting a critical mass of shoppers and sellers, Amazon ensures that no current or future rival can threaten its dominance. Amazon’s far-reaching schemes impact hundreds of billions of dollars in retail sales every year, touch hundreds of thousands of products sold by businesses big and small and affect over a hundred million shoppers.”
Amazon has evolved from a modest online bookseller to a sprawling conglomerate with significant stakes in retail, entertainment, and internet infrastructure with a market cap of more than $1.3 trillion. The company’s extensive marketplace, popular with consumers for its diverse product range and swift delivery services, has been a focal point of its power, impacting merchants globally and even influencing the operational dynamics of the U.S. Postal Service.
The states that have joined the FTC lawsuit include: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
Breitbart News has reported extensively on the investigations into how Amazon treats sellers that use the platform. As early as 2019, regulators were talking to sellers who were impacted by Amazon’s policies:
Bloomberg states that the nature of the current inquiries imply that the FTC is performing a sweeping investigation of Amazon’s business rather than responding to complaints on a case by case basis. Michael Kades, who spent 20 years at the FTC stated: “Early in an investigation, that’s a sign of staff doing a serious job. They’re spending lots of time with witnesses and trying to really understand what they’re saying.”
Jennifer Rie, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence who specializes in antitrust litigation, commented on the investigation stating: “They’re trying to learn as much as they can about the industry from people who aren’t the target of their investigation. They’re in a background phase.” Chris McCabe, a former Amazon employee who now runs a service which helps Amazon merchants stated: “These conversations are going to keep happening. I’ve had several people ask me how to go to the FTC. I give them an email, and the FTC is taking their calls.”
Despite the intensifying scrutiny, Amazon continues to expand its empire, generating more than $500 billion in annual revenue and acquiring companies like One Medical, iRobot, and Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, further solidifying its presence in various sectors including online retail, cloud computing, and streaming services.
The FTC’s lawsuit against Amazon comes at the same time as another high profile big tech lawsuit is playing out in court — the Google antitrust trial which Breitbart News is also closely following.
The case is FTC v. Amazon, No. 2:23-cv-0932 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.