The Amazon (AMZN) empire strikes again.
The tech and e-commerce large is not going to sit silent within the face of what it sees as unfair assaults from regulators. The Seattle group has simply struck laborious on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The antitrust regulator has opened an investigation into Amazon Prime. It questions whether or not Amazon is deceptive shoppers about how they subscribe to and unsubscribe from the paid service, which incorporates quick and free supply of merchandise in addition to collection, movies and sports activities on Prime Video, tunes by way of Amazon Music and extra.
The investigation, which had by no means been formally introduced, has simply been confirmed by the corporate in public paperwork.
In the about 50 pages of paperwork Amazon accuses the FTC of extending its investigation to providers that don’t have anything to do with Prime, reminiscent of Audible, Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Music.
Amazon Says FTC Harasses Bezos, Jassy
The firm additionally denounces the federal company’s strategies, accusing it of getting just one concern: finishing the inquiry as shortly as attainable to the detriment of substantive work.
The FTC’s “handling of this investigation has been unusual and perplexing,” the corporate mentioned. “The current impasse has been brought about by unexplained pressure placed on [FTC] staff to complete the investigation hastily, by an arbitrary deadline.”
The firm continued:
“But staff’s own behavior has exacerbated the breakdown in this investigation, with the most recent incident being the most egregious: staff has attempted to restrict, contrary to law and FTC practice, counsel’s ability to jointly represent Amazon and the individual CID recipients.”
CID stands for civil investigative calls for. They are just like a subpoena.
Amazon is attempting to restrict and quash these CIDs issued to present and former staff, the corporate and likewise to Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos and Chief Executive Andy Jassy.
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Amazon says it needs to quash the CIDs addressed to Bezos and Jassy as a result of their testimony is pointless since workers beneath them can present the knowledge they possess.
The company’s demand that Bezos and Jassy testify at an investigational listening to “on an open-ended list of topics on which they have no unique knowledge is grossly unreasonable, unduly burdensome, and calculated to serve no other purpose than to harass Amazon’s highest-ranking executives and disrupt its business operations,” the corporate alleged.
“Preparing either to testify regarding the granular details of business operations for which they have no unique knowledge and no day-to-day responsibilities would be a tremendous burden on them, on counsel, and on Amazon.”
The FTC declined to remark.
A Complicated Relationship
Amazon says that it has cooperated from the March 2021 begin with investigators from the federal company. The e-commerce large says it has despatched greater than 37,000 pages of paperwork and answered questions.
But the FTC’s “staff inexplicably disengaged,” the agency mentioned. Then, final April, nearly six months after the FTC’s silence, “staff abruptly notified Amazon that a new attorney would be taking over and that staff was ‘under tremendous pressure’ to conclude the investigation.”
The proprietor of the Alexa artificial-intelligence-driven digital assistant says it wants much more time to answer new requests from the FTC. Amazon additionally needs extra time to organize present and former staff.
Amazon has a sophisticated relationship with the FTC, which is run by Chairwoman Lina Khan.
An article about Amazon she wrote for the Yale Law Journal in 2017 brought about a stir. Headlined “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” the article pleads for a rethinking of antitrust enforcement in digital markets that would reshape industry practices.
“Although Amazon has clocked staggering development, it generates meager earnings, selecting to cost below-cost and develop extensively as an alternative,” Khan wrote.
“Through this technique, the corporate has positioned itself on the heart of e-commerce and now serves as important infrastructure for a bunch of different companies that depend on it. Elements of the agency’s construction and conduct pose anticompetitive considerations — but it has escaped antitrust scrutiny.”
No shock, then, that the corporate final yr filed a petition to have Khan recuse herself from all antitrust circumstances regarding Amazon.