FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and 17 other states prompted a long-awaited antitrust fight with the e-commerce platform Amazon. On Tuesday, the US antitrust regulator sued Amazon for its unfair methods to illicitly monopolize the market by smothering potential rivals.
In the 172-page lawsuit, the federal government has mounted a significant challenge to the dominance of the e-commerce giant. The suit alleges that Amazon has established a monopoly in various segments of online retail by exerting pressure on merchants and showing preferential treatment to its own services.
For consumers, this monopoly has resulted in “artificially higher prices” as merchants were prevented from offering their products at lower prices on other platforms. Additionally, it has led to a less favourable shopping experience as Amazon promoted its own products and peppered its search results with advertisements, according to the lawsuit. These tactics effectively stifled competition, damaging both Amazon’s customers and the multitude of businesses reliant on the platform.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, highlights how Amazon has seized control over the online retail landscape. It asserts that a single company, Amazon, has gained control over a substantial portion of online retail, exploiting its monopolistic position to benefit itself while harming its customers.
This legal action casts a spotlight on Amazon’s immense influence and reach as a $1.3 trillion conglomerate, founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994. Amazon, once a humble online bookseller, has evolved into a multifaceted corporation with a presence in retail, entertainment, and the foundational infrastructure of the internet.
Much of Amazon’s dominance is attributed to its expansive online marketplace, often referred to as the “everything store” due to its diverse product range and rapid delivery capabilities. Amazon’s control over the realm of online commerce has had global implications, impacting merchants worldwide, determining working conditions for over a million warehouse employees, and even influencing the Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays.
As Amazon vehemently denies the allegations in the lawsuit, it finds itself joining other major tech companies like Meta, currently confronting government scrutiny over concerns related to monopolistic practices.