According to the Bloomberg report on Wednesday, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has started interviewing with small businesses that sell products on Amazon and asking them how much of their business depends on Amazon.
At the beginning of this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice agreed to share antitrust investigations into big technology companies, with the Justice Department looking into Apple and Google, while Federal Trade Commission will investigate Amazon and Facebook.
The Federal Trade Commission and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Now, these companies are facing multiple investigations, and many of them are just getting started or just announced, from FTC, US attorneys general, Congress, and the Justice Department.
These investigations are all checking the potential monopolistic practices, such as using their huge platforms to stifle competitors.
Two days ago, around 50 attorneys general announced an antitrust probe into Google. Google has confirmed a Justice Department investigation into its business a few days ago.
According to the Bloomberg report, the Federal Trade Commission’s interviews with Amazon merchants seem to be to signal the early stages of a broad investigation into Amazon’s business practices.
For years, Amazon has faced criticism for apparently pushing around smaller businesses and gobbling up its competitors, such as Diapers.com and Zappos.
Smaller merchants on its site have often reported that they have few replacements to Amazon, such as Walmart and eBay, which makes them increasingly relying on the whims of Amazon.
Smaller merchants have complained that Amazon is trying to copy their products by making private-label versions of them, which makes it more difficult for them to participate in Amazon’s marketplace.
The Amazon executives mentioned that the private label will be a small part of its business and they don’t use smaller merchants’ data to specify what individual private label items to make.