📦 California Goes After Amazon
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the e-commerce giant's dominance is harming the state's 25 million customers. The case alleges that the online retailer sets a price floor by penalizing sellers on Amazon who list lower prices on other websites. Punishments include removing the “Buy Now” button from product pages, reports The New York Times. Should the case succeed, it could have a nationwide impact.
“If you think about Californians paying even just a little bit more for every product they purchased online over the course of a year, let alone a decade, which is what is at issue here, the collective magnitude of harm here is very far-reaching,” AG Bonta said in a news conference.
California's suit follows the District of Columbia's own 2021 lawsuit against the so-called “Everything Store”. Karl Racine, attorney general for DC, said Amazon was engaged in anticompetitive practices to maximize profits at the expense of customers and third-party vendors. However, a Superior Court Judge threw the case out earlier this year for insufficient evidence.
“Similar to the D.C. attorney general — whose complaint was dismissed by the courts — the California attorney general has it exactly backward. Sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store,” a spokesperson for Amazon told The Times.
The European Investigation
The European Union is set to begin its own antitrust investigation against Amazon after Bezos & Co. failed to provide any substantive commitments to remedy the antitrust claims. The Silicon Valley behemoth's submission was “weak, vague and full of loopholes,” third-party signatories advised the EU, notes TechCrunch. The bloc will likely investigate “competition concerns linked to [Amazon's] use of third-party data.”
What do DC, the EU, and California have in common? Apparently, the same antitrust lawsuit. Amazon can only fight this for so long before one of these suits succeeds.