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The FTC Draws Its Attention To Amazon’s Cloud Service

 |  December 22, 2021

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is advancing an antitrust probe into Amazon’s cloud computing business, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

FTC officials have contacted companies in the past few months to gather information about competition issues related to Amazon Web Services (AWS), according to the report.

The focus on Amazon’s $16 billion cloud business, which brings in most of the e-commerce giant’s profit, comes as Khan has set her sights on conduct by the biggest U.S. tech companies. Khan, a former Columbia Law School professor, rose to prominence in antitrust circles warning about the threats companies like Amazon pose to competition in the digital economy.

One issue the FTC could look at is whether Amazon has an incentive to discriminate against software companies that sell their products to clients of AWS, while at the same time competing with Amazon. The fear is that Amazon could punish the companies that work with other cloud providers and favor those that it works with exclusively.

The FTC’s investigation of Amazon began during the Trump administration under former chairman Joe Simons. The agency has pursued inquiries about Amazon’s retail business as well as the cloud division, Bloomberg has reported. The renewed outreach to companies shows the probe is active.

Amazon has provided information to the FTC in response to the agency’s requests, according to a person familiar with the matter.