Reuters reports that Amazon's top lawyer has "previewed the broad outlines of the company's possible defense against the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's antitrust lawsuit against the retailer, at a private companywide meeting.
"During the two-hour meeting, covering a range of topics, attorney David Zapolsky expressed confidence in Amazon's ability to fend off the blockbuster lawsuit, calling the company's tactics 'absolutely defensible behavior,' according to a transcript of the meeting seen by Reuters.
"Along the way, he quoted Taylor Swift lyrics as he sought to assuage employees' concerns. 'The meme of the day, as a very scrutinized company, is to adopt the tao of Taylor Swift: 'haters gonna hate' and you have to 'shake it off'' Zapolsky said, according to the transcript."
The story goes on: "The FTC takes 'issue with us refusing to show prices that are higher than our biggest competitors,' Zapolsky said on Tuesday, according to the transcript. 'It’s not that we don’t let customers sell at these prices, we just don’t feature that product at that price.'
"'We think this is absolutely defensible behavior because to feature it would be to lose customer trust by advertising something that is not a good deal for them,' he said … 'The whole complaint is based on a very constrained and manufactured view that Amazon is a monopoly,' said Zapolsky. 'This is at odds with not only how our competitors evaluate the marketplace, but also our own lived experience of how we shop'."
- KC's View:
It is going to be up to the courts to decide whether Amazon's behavior qualifies as appropriate or monopolistic. To be honest, I have no sense of how it will play out - it is all going to come down to how close to the sun Amazon has been flying.
I know this makes me sound naïve, but I have a problem with the "haters gonna hate" argument. I don't know that Lina Khan hates Amazon - that personalizes the issue in a way that I do not think is helpful. But I do think that Khan and the FTC (as it currently is populated) believe that the ways in which Amazon operates is bad for consumers and bad for competition. Amazon obviously disagrees - and that is why we need - and deserve - a nuanced and comprehensive discussion of what fair competition means as we barrel toward the middle of the 21st century.
That's a discussion that also will extend to the Kroger-Albertsons deal. As citizens and taxpayers, we should want these kinds of public policy discussions.