Politico reported on Friday that "a long-awaited antitrust case against Amazon’s massive online retail operations is expected to be filed in federal court as soon as Tuesday.
"The Federal Trade Commission has been preparing a complaint since at least the start of this year targeting an array of Amazon’s business practices. The exact details of the lawsuit are not known, and changes to the final complaint are possible until it’s officially submitted. But personnel throughout the agency, including FTC Chair Lina Khan herself, have homed in on several of Amazon’s business practices … That includes challenges to Amazon Prime, Amazon rules that the FTC says block lower prices on competing websites and actions regulators believe force merchants to use Amazon’s logistics and advertising services."
Politico wrote that "one of the final hurdles before the FTC sues Amazon is to get as many states as possible to sign on to the complaint, said two of the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss a confidential matter. A large, bipartisan group of states would be a strong signal of support for the case, especially since there are no Republican appointees confirmed to the agency, two of the people said."
If the lawsuit is successful, the story says, "it could lead to a court-ordered restructuring of the $1.35 trillion empire and define the legacy of Khan, who rose to prominence after authoring an article as a law student outlining the antitrust case against Amazon."
- KC's View:
At this point, the filing of the antitrust suit may end up being anticlimactic - it seems like we've been expecting it for months. But it seems likely that the folks at the FTC are doing their best to have all their ducks in a row.
What was the line from Omar in "The Wire?"
"You come at the king, you best not miss."
It will be interesting to see whether the FTC is looking to redefine the nature of competition for the 21st century, and the degree to which Amazon is being charged with behavior that also is practiced by other retailers (albeit less successfully).
This is going to take years, and the lawyers are going to get rich.
Not sure why, but another line from "The Wire" occurs to me:
"It ain’t about what happened, you understand? It’s about using what happened to our advantage. Play or you gonna get played."