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The case against Amazon: Key takeaways from the U.S. House antitrust report on digital markets

The case against Amazon: Key takeaways from the U.S. House antitrust report on digital markets

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and the report this week from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee. (GeekWire Photo Illustration)

Coming in at 451 pages, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee antitrust subcommittee’s report this week on competition in digital markets is a comprehensive summary of the ways in which Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon capitalize on and allegedly abuse their market power to benefit themselves.

Amazon is mentioned by name 1,866 times in the report, almost twice as many times as Facebook, and second only to Google at 1,964 mentions.

The report dedicates an 83-page section to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, informed by internal company emails, extensive market research, interviews with third-party retailers, submissions from industry groups, and testimony including the widely followed hearing this summer with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and others.

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But if you’re looking for the essence of the antitrust case against Amazon, scroll all the way down to this sentence on page 276: “Amazon’s pattern of exploiting sellers, enabled by its market dominance, raises serious competition concerns.”

There’s no shortage of supporting details for that statement, including allegations that Amazon uses third-party seller data to inform the creation of its own products; leverages information gleaned from investments in startups as competitive intelligence; compels merchants to use its fulfillment services through preferential placement in product listings; and many more allegations.

Amazon disputes many of the claims and assumptions in the report, and describes the approach taken by the antitrust subcommittee as fundamentally flawed.

“All large organizations attract the attention of regulators, and we welcome that scrutiny,” the company said in a sharply worded blog post issued shortly after the report was released this week. “But large companies are not dominant by definition, and

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