It has finally happened: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused Amazon of monopolistic practices and has announced it through a statement. Alongside prosecutors from 17 U.S. states, the FTC has filed a lawsuit against the company in court.
According to the FTC, Amazon’s actions prevent its direct competitors from lowering prices and greatly hinder innovation. The complaint also accuses Amazon of adopting an “exclusionary” stance that inhibits the growth of its competitors.
“We are filing these charges because Amazon’s illegal conduct has stifled competition in the online economy. Amazon is a monopoly that uses its power to raise prices for American consumers and charge high fees to hundreds of thousands of sellers,” said John Newman, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. For Newman, “rarely in the history of US antitrust legislation has a case had the potential to do so much good for people.”
Some of the monopolistic tactics employed by the company include anti-discount measures, primarily targeting third-party sellers and forcing other retailers not to offer lower prices than Amazon. In this case, the platform penalizes sellers who offer lower prices by ranking them lower in search results.
Europe, hunting Amazon
The European Commission launched a thorough investigation into Amazon in July. The trigger for this investigation was Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot, the company that owns the famous Roomba vacuum cleaners. This purchase raised concerns that Amazon might limit the visibility of other vacuum cleaner brands on its platform. Additionally, there were suspicions that Bezos’ company might restrict the compatibility of Alexa with vacuum cleaners from other brands.