From The Bookseller:
Amazon has been accused of anti-competitive practices in a scathing report into US tech giants by Democratic politicians. The online retailer has rebutted the claims, saying “the presumption that success can only be the result of anti-competitive behavior is simply wrong”.
The 450-page report written by Democrats on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, released on 7th October, comes after a 16-month probe into whether Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple abuse their power. Republicans on the committee have refused to sign the report and are releasing a series of their own instead.
The report, which calls for US antitrust rules to be overhauled, said the companies were running marketplaces they also competed in, allowing them to “write one set of rules for others, while they play by another”.
Book publishers told the committee Amazon uses retaliation “to coerce publishers to accept contractual terms that impose substantial penalties for promoting competition” with its rivals. One publisher claimed the platform’s retaliatory conduct shows “Amazon’s ability and willingness to leverage its market power to prevent publishers from working effectively with rival e-book retailers and, thereby, maintain and enhance its dominance in e-book distribution.”
Retaliation included Amazon removing the “buy” and “pre-order” button from products, or showing titles as out of stock or with delayed shipping times, it was claimed.
The report states: “According to credible reports, Amazon used these tactics in its public battle with Hachette Book Group in 2014 over e-book pricing, and has used them or threatened to use them in more recent negotiations. Publishers, authors, and booksellers have ‘significant fear’ because of Amazon’s dominance.”
. . . .
According to the report, Amazon hosts 2.3 million third-party sellers from around the globe, with around 37% of them, or more than 850,000, relying on the site as their sole income source.
However, the report claims Amazon uses sales and product data from its marketplace to identify and replicate popular, profitable items offered by third-party sellers. It will then create a competing product, or identify and source the product directly from the manufacturer “to free ride off the seller’s efforts, and then cut that seller out of the equation”, it is claimed. Amazon says that it has no incentive to abuse sellers’ trust because third-party sales make up nearly 60% of its sales, a claim the committee cast doubt on.
Link to the rest at The Bookseller
A reminder that PG doesn’t always agree with everything he posts on The Passive Voice.