- The Federal Trade Commission is now looking at Amazon’s cloud business in addition to its retail business to see whether the company engaged in any anti-competitive behaviour, according to Bloomberg.
- As part of its scrutiny of Amazon Web Services, the FTC could look into whether Amazon is discriminating against companies that work with other cloud providers.
- The reportedly expanded look into Amazon’s business practices comes as tech giants across the industry have come under scrutiny over the size and influence of their presence in the market.
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Concerns over whether Amazon is engaging in anticompetitive business practices are continuing to grow as the Federal Trade Commission has reportedly begun looking into the company’s burgeoning cloud business.
The FTC is expanding its scrutiny of the online e-commerce giant to include its Amazon Web Services division in addition to its retail business, according to a recent report from Bloomberg’s Dina Bass, David McLaughlin, and Naomi Nix. The agency is said to have been talking to software companies about Amazon’s business practices, the report says.
Amazon and the FTC declined to comment.
The news comes after the agency began looking into whether Amazon had engaged in any anticompetitive business practices on its online marketplace back in September, as Bloomberg also reported at the time.
Amazon’s booming cloud business grew by 35% year-over-year to $US9 billion in the third quarter of 2019. It also dominates the market over rivals like Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba, according to estimates from Gartner and Canalys.
As part of its inquiry into AWS, the FTC may examine whether the Seattle tech giant is discriminating against companies that also work with other cloud providers and prioritising those who work with it exclusively, Bloomberg notes.
The FTC is reportedly broadening its examination into Amazon’s business as tech behemoths across the industry are coming under increased scrutiny over whether their respective business practices are harming competition. The Department of Justice announced in July that it was launching a broad probe into platforms for search, social media, and e-commerce to investigate how market-leading companies are impacting innovation.
Executives from Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple were also grilled during a House subcommittee hearing in July regarding the size and scope of their businesses. During that hearing, Congressman David N. Cicilline, chairman of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, questioned Amazon’s Nate Sutton over whether the retail giant uses data from third-party sellers to inform its own product strategy, therefore giving it an unfair competitive advantage.
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren has also been calling for tech giants like Amazon to be regulated. Warren proposed a sweeping plan back in March that would reverse certain tech mergers, such as Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.
Amazon’s Jeff Wilke, CEO of the company’s consumer business, said at a press conference in June that the firm welcomes scrutiny,Reuters reported. “With size, I think scrutiny is fair,” he said according to the report. “I think we should be scrutinised.”
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