retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Barron's has a story about the fact that Amazon stock went down 2.5 percent yesterday, for no apparent reason.

Well, maybe one reason.

"Perhaps it’s because President-Elect Donald Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos haven’t exactly gotten along in the past," Barron's writes. "Back in May, the two business executives exchanged some harsh words, with Trump suggesting that Amazon was an illegal monopoly."

The story notes that Trump has accused Bezos of using his ownership of the Washington Post “as a tool for political power against me and against other people, and I’ll tell you what, we can’t let him get away with it.” And Trump "raised the idea that Bezos had an antitrust issue on his hands because of Amazon’s e-commerce dominance."

Bezos responded that Trump’s comments are “not an appropriate way for a presidential candidate to behave.”

Barron's writes that "Some might try to argue that Amazon has achieved monopoly status in online retail, amounting to a violation of antitrust laws. Could Trump make that case when he takes office in January? No one else has managed to challenge Amazon’s dominance, but maybe Trump can. Investors have a least some reason to be nervous."
KC's View:
Bezos always said that he bought the Post because he believed in a free and independent press and wanted to see if he could disrupt the competitive dynamics of an industry that clearly had business issues. If the Trump administration decides to go after Amazon because it does not like Post coverage, we'll see exactly how strong Bezos' commitment is.

That said ... I suspect that the Trump administration has bigger fish to fry. Besides, Amazon has more than 200 million active users ... and I wouldn't go out of my way to tick them off.