Report: FTC Considering Targeting Amazon With Antitrust Lawsuit

Amazon antitrust

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reportedly considering an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday (Feb. 3) that it is not known what part of the company’s operations would be targeted but that the FTC has been looking for years at how it treats competitors’ products on its platforms, how it deals with third-party sellers and how it bundles offerings with its Prime subscription service.

The commission’s probe won’t necessarily become a lawsuit, the timing of a potential lawsuit is not known and Amazon has not yet made its arguments against any potential legal action, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.

Contacted by PYMNTS, spokespeople for the FTC and Amazon declined to comment on the report.

The FTC sued another tech giant, Meta Platforms, in an attempt to block the firm’s acquisition of virtual reality (VR) fitness app developer Within Unlimited.

In that case, the agency said in a filing submitted in a federal court in November that the acquisition would violate antitrust laws by reducing the number of competitors in the VR fitness app market.

In a statement provided to PYMNTS at the time, a Meta spokesperson said the VR space is experiencing vibrant competition and that the company’s acquisition of Within “will be good for people, developers and the VR space.”

Another Big Tech company, Google, is facing an antitrust lawsuit mounted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and eight states that says it has illegally seized control of the online ad sector.

The suit asks the court to order the divestiture of “at minimum,” the Google Ad Manager suite.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to PYMNTS: “Today’s lawsuit from the DOJ attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector.”

In 2020, a congressional antitrust report suggested that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have become too powerful and might need to be broken up.

The four tech firms wasted no time pushing back, saying that they all compete fairly.

Amazon said at the time in a blog post: “Misguided interventions in the free market would kill off independent retailers and punish consumers by forcing small businesses out of popular online stores, raising prices and reducing consumer choice and convenience.”