Amazon faces FTC antitrust probe over its marketplace
The US Federal Trade Commission is ramping up an investigation into Amazon over its online marketplace by interviewing small businesses that sell through the company, reported Bloomberg on Wednesday.
The officials were said to be conducting in-depth interviews with small businesses and specifically asking them how much of their revenues came from sales through Amazon as opposed to from other e-commerce sites, including Walmart and eBay.
Antitrust experts told the newswire that the length of the interviews and manpower dedicated to them pointed to the start of a wide-ranging probe into Amazon's business practices.
"Early in an investigation, that's a sign of staff doing a serious job," ex-FTC official Michael Kades told Bloomberg. "They're spending lots of time with witnesses and trying to really understand what they're saying." .
Both Amazon and the FTC declined to comment.
The FTC's actions were a part of a broader examination into big technology companies' role in the US economy with an investigation having been opened into Facebook in June and the Department of Justice having initiated a probe into Google.
In particular, regulators were thought to be trying to determine whether Amazon should be classed as a retailer, which would mean that it had a market share of 4.0% or whether its market should be considered to be online shopping, which would boost its share of the market to nearly 40.0%.