Once again, Amazon has won a lawsuit accusing it of abuse of dominant position. The complaint had indeed been filed by a judge in the U.S. federal capital and was accusing the online retail giant of preventing companies selling on its platform to offer their products at a lower cost on other sites.
Although the judge did not officially justify his decision, he would have considered that the evidence provided by the plaintiffs was insufficient. As Jérôme Marin (Cafétech) explains, this outcome could have a significant impact on other ongoing procedures, particularly within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
An informal interdiction
While the interdiction for companies to sell their products at lower costs on other sites was officially dropped in 2019, in reality, it is still effective. Indeed, companies defying this informal interdiction expose themselves to sanctions from Amazon and to the threat of decreased sales. Amazon is thus directly altering online competition by making sure that products on its platform cannot be found elsewhere at lower prices.
A strong signal
This decision sends a strong signal, thereby legitimizing the abuse of monopoly power. Indeed, victory for Amazon could also discourage other U.S. states, including California, from going after the company.
As a result, the Washington DC attorney general plans to appeal, as he estimates that the judge in charge of the case is mistaken.
Will the DSA and DMA make a difference?
Despite these uncertain procedures, the political world holds out hope. This hope is embodied in the DSA and the DMA, the two texts that are intended to become the benchmarks for the regulation of large platforms in Europe. They aim to propose a legislative framework to cut short the monopolistic and anti-competitive practices of digital giants once and for all.
Marin, Jérôme. “La Justice Américaine Rejette Des Poursuites Antitrust Contre Amazon.” Cafétech, 21 Mar. 2022, https://cafetech.fr/2022/03/21/la-justice-americaine-rejette-des-poursuites-antitrust-contre-amazon/.
Megadebt. “Les Autorités Antitrust Américaines N’arrivent Pas à Épingler Amazon.” La Tribune, La Tribune Nouvelle, 21 Mar. 2022, https://www.latribune.fr/technos-medias/internet/les-autorites-antitrust-americaines-n-arrivent-pas-a-epingler-amazon-906620.html.