U.S. FTC files antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.com on Tuesday, and asked the court to consider forcing the online retailer to sell assets to restore competition in the online marketplace.



The FTC said that Amazon restricts retailers on its marketplace from discounting, which stifled competition, and forced sellers to use its ‘fulfillment service,’ a reference to its nationwide network of delivery vans and warehouses, which some critics say should be hived off from Amazon’s web business.

The lawsuit had been expected after years of complaints that Amazon.com and other tech giants abused their dominance of search, social media and online retailing to become gate keepers on the most lucrative aspects of the internet.

The lawsuit, which was joined by 17 state attorneys general, follows a four-year investigation and federal lawsuits filed against Alphabet’s Google and Meta Platforms’ Facebook.

The FTC said that it was asking the court to issue a permanent injunction ordering Amazon.com to stop its unlawful conduct. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Seattle, where Amazon is based.

“Left unchecked, Amazon will continue its illegal course of conduct to maintain its monopoly power,” the FTC said in its complaint which asked the court “to put an end to Amazon’s illegal course of conduct, pry loose Amazon’s monopolistic control, deny Amazon the fruits of its unlawful practices, and restore the lost promise of competition.”

The FTC complaint asked for the court to consider “any preliminary or permanent equitable relief, including but not limited to structural relief, necessary to restore fair competition.”

Structural relief in antitrust jargon generally means a company sells an asset, such as a part of its business.

Amazon said that the FTC lawsuit was wrongheaded and would hurt consumers by leading to higher prices and slower deliveries.

MacDailyNews Take: The long slog commences.

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  1. Karma may have struck Amazon. There should be a review of the DOJ and Amazon’s role in seeking anti trust against Apple for e-books several years ago. Apple was found guilty and paid out for collusion and supposedly price fixing books, while it was publishers that solely established prices in a vertical market. Since then, look where ebooks have ended up. Amazon has gained on their monopoly, authors are paid peanuts, libraries can not afford as many books and consumers pay more for ebooks. No one since has challenged Amazon since Apple’s attempt. Classic diversion strategy back then for Amazon, but they don’t have Apple to take the rap this time.

    1. Wasn’t the part of the contract where publishers were required to choose from a set of tiered price points and through the ‘Most Favored Nation’ clause tp not price ebooks higher than at any other ‘outlet’ while at the same time requiring a 30% cut of revenue part of the problem? Instead of lowering prices, the above requirement forced publishers to raise prices everywhere to make sure they made a profit at Apple’s ebook store. It also didn’t help that after the case was settled, there was no incentive for publishers to lower any of their ‘new’ prices.

      1. The problem is that the DOJ got away with the “Most Favored Nation” concept. Apple’s lawyers were too dumb to fight back and force everyone to realize that it was really a “Best Customer” clause. The fact that Apple’s lawyers allowed the “Most Favored Nation” concept to take hold resulted in the fine and the significant way Apple had to do business in that category. The loss really was Apple’s lawyers’ fault and due to nothing else.

        1. I like that ‘best customer’ theme which is exactly right. This is now a dead issue but the DOJ was wrong in this. The publishers set the prices but agreed that Apple would not pay higher than the lowest cost they offered anyone. Amazon did not like this of course and the rumour was that Bezos actually had DOJ lawyers in his home to discuss… next thing you know, the lawsuit happened and with a very unfavourable judge. Amazon dropped prices to a point that would be called predatory, until everyone left the Kindle market. They were able to do that, as losses on books were covered by profits on everything else. Then they raised prices when competition was gone. The really dumb consumers fell for this, and would just say this was a ‘lot of words for price fixing’ LOL. It sure was price fixing.. by Amazon. Joke is on you.

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