FTC Pondering Amazon Antitrust Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to the N.Y. Times, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is pondering an antitrust lawsuit to “challenge the power” of Amazon. The potential lawsuit would invoke antimonopoly laws. The Aug. 7 article in the Times relies on an anonymous source who reports that the FTC is scheduled to meet with Amazon because the agency “may be” preparing to file a lawsuit.

“The scheduled meetings signal that the F.T.C. is nearing a decision on whether to move forward with a lawsuit arguing that Amazon has violated antimonopoly laws,” writes Times reporter David McCabe. “Such discussions are sometimes known as ‘last rites’ meetings, after the prayers some Christians receive on their deathbed. The conversations, which are usually one of the final steps before the agency’s commissioners vote on whether to file a lawsuit, give the company a chance to make its case.”

McCabe characterizes the potential lawsuit as one of the “most significant challenges” to the $1.4 trillion dollar company. “The F.T.C. has investigated Amazon’s business for years,” adds McCabe. “The company’s critics and competitors have argued that the once-upstart online bookstore has used its power as one of the world’s largest online retailers to squeeze the merchants that use its platform to sell their wares.”