A brewing FTC antitrust investigation into Amazon is looking more and more serious

Jeff Bezos

  • Bloomberg reports that FTC officials have been
    interviewing small businesses who sell through Amazon about the
    company’s business practices.
  • The interviews lasted roughly 90 minutes and
    interviewees were asked how big a portion of their revenue Amazon
    sales make up, three merchants told Bloomberg.
  • Experts told Bloomberg the length of the interviews and
    the number of staff assigned to them indicate the FTC is in the
    early stages of an official probe into Amazon. 
  • Visit Business
    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A
new report from Bloomberg
appears to indicate that the Federal
Trade Commission ramping up an investigation into Amazon over its
marketplace.

Attorneys and at least one economist have been conducting
lengthy, in-depth interviews with small businesses that sell their
products through Amazon, three of the merchants interviewed told
Bloomberg.

They were specifically asked how much of their revenue comes
from Amazon sales as opposed to other e-commerce sites including
Walmart and eBay, and the interviews lasted roughly 90 minutes.


Vox reported in June
that the FTC had started
speaking to the company’s competitors
to gain some insight into
its business practices. It did not name who these competitors were,
and noted that these talks did not necessarily mean a full-blown
investigation was underway.

Read more:
Big tech warned by top regulator: We will break you up if we have
to

Experts told Bloomberg, however, that its report suggests the
FTC could indeed be in the early stages of an official probe, given
the duration of the interviews and the resources devoted to the
operation.

“Early in an investigation, that’s a sign of staff doing a
serious job,” said ex-FTC official Michael Kades. “They’re spending
lots of time with witnesses and trying to really understand what
they’re saying.” Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst Jennifer Rie said
the questioning had the hallmarks of the “background phase” of an
investigation.

Both Amazon and the FTC declined to comment when contacted by
Bloomberg, and neither were immediately available for comment when
contacted by Business Insider.

Amazon is far from the only tech company to be put under an
antitrust microscope.

The
FTC opened an investigation into Facebook in June
, and earlier
this week
50 state attorneys general announced a probe into Google
.
Amazon is also
already the subject of an antitrust investigation by the EU
,
officially announced in July.

SEE ALSO: Tech
stocks slide as Google faces renewed antitrust
pressure


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Source: FS – All Tech News
A brewing FTC antitrust investigation into Amazon is looking more and more serious