Politico reports this morning that "the Federal Trade Commission is finalizing its long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, four people with knowledge of the matter told Politico, a move that could ultimately break up parts of the company.
"The FTC has been investigating the company on a number of fronts, and the coming case would be one of the most aggressive and high-profile moves in the Biden administration’s rocky effort to tame the power of tech giants. The wide-ranging lawsuit is expected as soon as August, and will likely challenge a host of Amazon’s business practices, said the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss a confidential matter. If successful, it could lead to a court-ordered restructuring of the $1.3 trillion empire and define the legacy of FTC Chair Lina Khan."
The story goes on: "The exact details of the final lawsuit are not known, and changes to the final complaint are expected until the eleventh hour. But personnel throughout the agency, including Khan herself, have homed in on several of Amazon’s business practices, said some of the people.
"The complaint is likely to focus on challenges to Amazon Prime, Amazon rules that the FTC says block lower prices on competing websites, and policies the FTC believes force merchants to use Amazon’s logistics and advertising services, according to some of the people … The FTC is also expected to claim that Amazon steers sellers to its own logistics services, which include shipping and warehousing, by rewarding them with better placement on the site, and punishing them when they don’t, some of the people said."
- KC's View:
This may be the second-most anticipated legal move in Washington, DC., the first having something to do with the likely indictment of a former president.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the FTC's lawsuit actually says, just so we can separate the speculation from fact. I've argued here for years that the definitions of anti-competitive and antitrust had the change for a new business environment, so I'm deeply curious about how the FTC defines these terms for 2023.