Amazon

Amazon Exec Says Company Is Ready For Scrutiny Over Market Power

An Amazon executive has said the eCommerce giant welcomes a review of its business, as some are calling for the break-up of the company.

“Substantial entities in the economy deserve scrutiny, and our job is to build the kind of company that passes that scrutiny,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO Worldwide Consumer, according to Reuters.

His comments come as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reportedly questioning Amazon’s competitors about the company, including queries about its fulfillment service pricing, competition with third-party merchants and the bundling of services in Amazon’s Prime loyalty program. In addition, the FTC will soon launch its own investigations of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, with tech executives being asked to testify about the possible misuse of their market power.

Earlier this year, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) put out a plan to break up large tech firms like Facebook and Amazon, saying that they “have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And, in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”

To create an even playing field, Warren would like to make certain firms into “platform utilities,” which would be defined as firms that have worldwide revenues of at least $25 billion, connect third parties, or offer an exchange or marketplace. Warren is proposing that these firms would not be able to own platform participants and the utility itself.

In addition, Warren wants to have regulators undo mergers that she said are “anti-competitive,” including Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, and the purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp by Facebook.

“My view on this is: It’s a little like baseball,” Warren said. “You can be an umpire, a platform or you can own teams — that’s fine. But you can’t be an umpire and own teams.”

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