Washington, D.C. (10/23/2023) – Since the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched lawsuits attacking Amazon and Google, consumer advocates and economic experts have criticized the cases for running counter to the stated goal of U.S. antitrust law: protecting American consumers.
Experts agree that the FTC’s and the DOJ’s cases against Amazon and Google respectively – two of our country’s most trusted companies – would protect competitors from meaningful competition, threaten to increase costs for consumers, and risk breaking free and low-cost products and services Americans love.
Here’s what they’re saying.
The FTC has recently faced criticism for pursuing lawsuits that consumer advocates and economic experts agree would limit competition and increase costs for Americans. Now, the FTC seeks to dismantle Amazon in a filing that would break a quick and affordable shipping service that consumers love and threatens to raise prices for everyday items.
Stephen Kent, Consumer Choice Center:
“…FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan already knows that Amazon is largely enjoyed by the American public, admitting as much in her 2017 essay, ‘Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.’ Khan is no longer a student at Yale and is now sitting atop America’s most powerful consumer-focused government agency, but nothing appears to have changed about Khan’s understanding of Amazon’s appeal. Consumers like Amazon and the value of their Prime membership; Khan just thinks they shouldn’t…”
“…Amazon has shifted simply because the market has. The 2-3 day delivery times that were novel in the 1990s would have Amazon out of business now, which is why it’s tried all-manner of online and in-person ways to meet and lead the needs of consumers whose tastes are ever-changing. Where the FTC sees Amazon dominance, Amazon sees what was…”
Jonathan Kanter has called the consumer welfare standard – the bedrock of U.S. antitrust law that’s meant to protect Americans from high prices and anticompetitive business practices – “a catchphrase, not a standard.” Now, the DOJ’s lawsuit against Google Search, the latest example of the Justice Department’s recent “know it when you see it” approach to antitrust law, is threatening to break a product that Americans prefer to use and protect competitors from competition.
“…The consumer’s will is increasingly being trampled by steps such as the antitrust lawsuits the federal government and state attorneys general have brought against tech companies. Consider the Justice Department’s suit against Google and the Federal Trade Commission’s suit against Amazon. Both cases allege the companies have maintained unlawful monopoly power over their peers. Yet both cases are built on complaints from competitors—not consumers—who lost fair and square and are now crying foul to government referees…”
“…It’s nice to be able to keep your own score. Supporters of the recent antitrust cases against Google and Amazon like to stress America’s long history of successful technology industry interventions. But who says that the iconic cases of the past were necessary and successful? They do…
“…There are at least three reasons to doubt this assertion: 1) technological change has eventually reined in the power of even the mightiest of companies, 2) antitrust cases take so long that they tend to be still going well after the power of the accused firm has passed its peak, and 3) settling these cases seems to have helped foreign competitors much more than American consumers…”
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