© Reuters / Dado Ruvic (inset: Reuters / Pascal Rossignol)
US Senator Josh Hawley is demanding a criminal antitrust probe of Amazon as the e-commerce behemoth’s powers grow to rival the government’s own. Google and Apple, too, are now ordering governments around.
Amazon “abuses its position as an online platform and collects detailed data about merchandise so Amazon can create copycat products under an Amazon brand,” Hawley charged in a letter he sent to US Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday. The senator (R-MO) demanded a criminal probe of the e-commerce giant, accusing it of engaging in “predatory and exclusionary data practices to build and maintain a monopoly” – a textbook violation of antitrust law.
Charging that Amazon has gained unprecedented monopoly power through the sheer wealth of data it has collected on its users, allowing it to clone sellers’ products and undercut them on price, the senator likened the company’s “capacity for data collection” to “a brick and mortar retailer attaching a camera to every customer’s forehead.” With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the lion’s share of commerce online, Amazon has assumed near-omnipotence.
Even if all of Hawley’s allegations – derived from a Wall Street Journal investigation published earlier this month – are proven 100 percent true, it’s questionable whether the Justice Department would be willing (or able) to punish Amazon … Continue reading >>>