Amazon is reportedly set to meet with members of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to discuss a potential antitrust lawsuit against the company. The meetings will involve FTC Chair Lina Khan, as well as commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya. These discussions, known as “last rites” meetings, typically take place before the agency’s commissioners decide whether to file a lawsuit. If the FTC moves forward with the lawsuit, it would mark a significant challenge to Amazon’s business, which has grown into a $1.4 trillion behemoth over the past 30 years. Amazon’s various acquisitions, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, One Medical, Whole Foods, and its dominance in cloud computing services, have raised concerns about its monopolistic power.
The FTC has been investigating Amazon for years amid allegations of using its platform to harm merchants. The focus on Amazon, along with other tech giants like Google and Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram), reflects growing concerns about the power and reach of these companies. The Justice Department has already filed multiple antitrust lawsuits against Google, with one trial scheduled for next month. Meta has also faced FTC lawsuits related to its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. However, some of these efforts to curb the power of tech giants have faced setbacks in the courts.
In June, the FTC sued Amazon in a separate case, accusing the company of deceptive practices related to its Prime fast-shipping membership program. Amazon has also faced scrutiny from states and regulators outside of the U.S., including a lawsuit by the District of Columbia attorney general for alleged unfair pricing policies and a European Union antitrust investigation that resulted in Amazon agreeing to change certain practices.
Lina Khan, now the head of the FTC, has been a vocal critic of Amazon and its dominance. As a law student at Yale, she argued that the company’s growth was evidence of a failure in antitrust laws. She emphasized that low consumer prices were not the only measure of antitrust violations, as other aspects of a company’s behavior could harm players in the economy. This argument gained significant attention and contributed to the broader debate on the power of tech giants. In 2019, federal antitrust regulators began investigations into these companies, with the Justice Department focusing on Google and Apple, while the FTC examined Facebook and Amazon. President Biden later appointed Khan to oversee the FTC, giving her control over the investigation into Amazon.
As this story develops, updates will be provided.