SEATTLE, Washington: As part of Washington's efforts to stop Big Tech from monopolizing the most lucrative parts of the internet, this week, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.com.
The FTC also asked the court to consider forcing Amazon to sell assets and accused the online retailer, worth US$1.3 trillion, of preventing sellers on its online marketplace from offering products at cheaper prices on other platforms.
Amazon is raising costs for consumers and sellers by forcing the latter to use its warehouses and delivery services, the FTC added, stressing that Amazon is a monopoly and abuses its powers.
The lawsuit, joined by 17 state attorneys-general, follows years of complaints against Amazon.com and other tech giants, accused of abusing their dominance of search, social media, and online retailing to gain profits.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Seattle, where Amazon is based.
The Democrats and Republicans have agreed on the need to take action against Big Tech, and the FTC has been especially concerned about Amazon's power.
The lawsuit against the online retail giant comes after a four-year investigation and federal lawsuits against Alphabet's Google and Meta Platforms' Facebook.
The FTC said it would ask the court to issue a permanent injunction ordering Amazon to stop its unlawful conduct.
"Left unchecked, Amazon will continue its illegal course of conduct to maintain its monopoly power," the FTC said in the lawsuit.
Asked in a press briefing about breaking up Amazon, FTC Chair Lina Khan said, "At this stage, the focus is really on liability."
In response, Amazon said that the FTC lawsuit was "wrongheaded" and would harm consumers, leading to higher prices and slower deliveries.
David Zapolsky, Amazon's general counsel, said, "The practices the FTC is challenging have helped to spur competition and innovation across the retail industry and have produced a greater selection, lower prices, and faster delivery speeds for Amazon customers and greater opportunity for the many businesses that sell in Amazon's store."
In a blog post, the company noted it has 500,000 independent sellers on its platform.