By Vared Shmuler (IV)
Over the past several months, Amazon has experienced a prolonged period of persecution due to their alleged violation of antitrust laws. However, before diving into the subject matter, there are several questions and factors that must be addressed. Firstly, what is an antitrust law? Could it be a breach of a contract? Or is it a violation of trust between people? To the surprise of many, the term antitrust is not a cognate. Rather, this term refers to the regulation of the concentration of economic power for a single company, particularly with regard to monopolies. More specifically, an antitrust law can be classified as a statute that is specifically developed by the government to protect consumer interest and to ensure fair competition in any given sector of the American economy. However, in more recent times, Amazon, and their expansive empire of goods and services, has been open to an investigation concerning their treatment of third-party sellers and, more importantly, their possible neglect of antitrust regulations.
Although Amazon is most notably known for their extensive online retail store, they also provide a myriad of other utilities. For example, they deliver their streaming and newly acquired food services via Whole Foods. However, in which of these services could they be persecuted for their violation of terms? Due to the explanation of an antitrust law that states that any company must adhere to non-predatory business practices, Amazon should be no exception. Their mass amount of popularity forces small businesses to use the Amazon platform to sell their product with the hope of sales and publicity. However, Amazon indirectly destroys their business’ credibility and strengthens their undesired dependence on the platform. Not only are these smaller corporations unable to compete with Amazon’s vast online presence, but surcharges and fees ever so slightly pick away at the profits of those that choose to reluctantly comply, further shattering their likelihood of surviving the corporate food chain. Whereas in the sector of streaming services, the situation dilutes. With competitors such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and several others, Amazon Video is not at all in control or infringing on the terms of antitrust laws. In short, Amazon’s reign of online services can be limited to only their retail and delivery platform as there are sufficient competitors in all other categories of Amazon’s domain. However, based on the information stated above, the question that remains is whether or not anything will happen to the company of Amazon? Will they be persecuted in a court of law or continue their technological advancements?
Although Amazon’s overall holdings in between sectors balance one another, it does not outweigh the violation within the boundaries of Amazon’s online retail and shipping services. Based solely on the information provided, regarding Amazon’s predatory business practices and methods, I believe that if Amazon is not in violation of antitrust laws now, they will be in the near future. They not only hold the majority of online sales and have millions of loyal customers, but they also create an inhospitable environment for small businesses. They drive away many sales opportunities from the lesser known and have extremely competitive prices, leaving consumers wondering whether or not they should buy the product on Amazon. On a more personal level, I have heard, on countless occasions, questions of whether any given product will be less costly or ship faster on Amazon in comparison to a third-party seller, which, as every member of the clientele knows, is considered impractical. These examples simply show the extent to which Amazon’s influence reaches. In short, I believe that due to Amazon’s predatory business practices that they are in violation of the set antitrust laws. As a result, they will face repercussions for their corporate actions.