U.S. antitrust agency preparing lawsuit against Amazon

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against e-commerce giant Amazon

February 04, 2023 10:34 am | Updated 10:34 am IST

File photo of the Amazon logo

File photo of the Amazon logo | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

It could not be determined exactly which aspects of Amazon's businesses the FTC would target and the timing of any case was uncertain, according to the report.

Amazon and the FTC declined to comment.

The commission began probing Amazon during the Trump administration. The company has been criticised for allegedly favouring its own products and disfavouring outside sellers on its platform.

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The FTC has been scrutinising the bundling practices of the company's Prime subscription service, the WSJ also reported.

Amazon in December reached a settlement with the European Union in three antitrust probes after it addressed the EU's concerns over use of sellers' data, saving the company from a fine of up to 10% of its global turnover.

Outsiders got a small view into the relationship between the agency and Amazon last August when the agency rejected an Amazon bid to quash demands that both Chief Executive Andy Jassy and Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos testify at investigative hearings. Amazon had questioned what it called the agency's "burdensome" requests in its investigation of the sign-up and cancellation processes for its Prime program.

The Justice Department and FTC have probes underway of all four platforms. The Justice Department has sued Alphabet's Google twice, once regarding its search business and a second time on advertising technology. The FTC has sued Meta's Facebook.

The FTC has also lost a court ruling aimed at stopping a deal that Meta undertook to buy VR company Within.

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