In April, Wall Street Journal reported that certain Amazon executives used restricted seller data to determine what items they might want to develop and compete against. This goes against their public policy.
Executives found a way to get around the restrictions, it is alleged, and studied high sale items with the intent of creating a similar product at less cost/more profit.
Amazon responded to the allegations by pointing out that products are aggregated and included multiple offers from sellers.
Amazon has also been criticised by third-party sellers who state that the AmazonBasics brand has an unfair advantage. This includes adding links to the Basics brand on the third-party’s listings.
All of this caught the attention of government regulators, while Amazon is already being probed by Federal Trade Commission officials over its business practices in cloud computing. The U.S. antitrust enforcers have been asking software companies about practices around Amazon’s cloud unit Amazon Web Services.
And, they are not alone. Big tech companies such as Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Apple are also facing antitrust probes by the federal government.
Cloud servers allow businesses to rent servers from Amazon rather than running their own data centers. Amazon could easily generate over $30 billion a year in this sector alone.
United States senator Elizabeth Warren has also threatened to break up “big tech” corporations like Amazon from knocking out the rest of the competition.
Jeff Bezos was sent a letter on May 1 to appear voluntarily before Congress. He did not respond to the letter and has not yet appeared.
Top House Democrate David Cicilline is now threatening to subpoena the CEO if he refuses to testify voluntarily.