The U.S. competition authority filed a long-awaited antitrust complaint against Amazon on Tuesday, accusing the online retailer of hurting consumers by charging higher prices. This is the latest legal action by the U.S. government aimed at breaking the dominance of big tech companies. The lawsuit, which was joined by 17 state attorneys general, follows a four-year investigation.
The lawsuit was expected after years of complaints that Amazon and other tech giants abused their dominant position in search, social media and online retail.
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The FTC says Amazon's actions allow it to prevent rivals and sellers from lowering prices, degrading quality for buyers, overcharging sellers, stifling innovation, and preventing rivals from competing fairly," the agency said in a statement.
The FTC said it was asking the court to issue a permanent injunction ordering Amazon to stop its illegal behavior.
The FTC said Amazon punishes sellers who seek to offer lower prices than Amazon by making it difficult for consumers to find them on the platform. Other allegations include Amazon prioritizing its own products on its platforms over those of its competitors.
FTC Chair Lina Khan, while a law student, wrote about Amazon's dominance in online retail for the Yale Law Journal and was on the staff of the House committee that wrote a 2020 report advocating restricting the activity of four tech giants: Amazon.com, Apple, Google and Facebook.