Amazon accuses US competition watchdog of harassing Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to call Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy, ​​respectively executive chairman and chief executive of Amazon. The American firm cries foul, even going so far as to mention harassment.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the American policeman of competition, continues to shake the Gafam. After Meta, which will not escape an antitrust lawsuit, it is Amazon’s turn to be annoyed by the offensive tone of the organization, led by Lina Khan, a jurist renowned for her anti-Gafam positions. Indeed, the champion of online commerce and the cloud does not appreciate seeing its executive chairman, Jeff Bezos, and its managing director, Andy Jassy, ​​in the crosshairs of the FTC.

The American firm even goes so far as to accuse the competition authority of harassing its two leaders because of its repeated requests to have them testify as part of the investigation carried out by the FTC into the group’s practices related to its service. Premium and other activities. In a document filed on August 5, Amazon indicates that a request for information had been sent by the commission in the spring of 2021, followed in June 2022 by requests concerning subscription programs such as Amazon Music, Kindle Unlimited or Audible. .

For the American giant, this is too much, Amazon believing that these requests from the FTC are “excessively broad and restrictive”. In this context, class attorneys said the commission’s willingness to have Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy testify “on an unlimited list of matters about which they have no unique knowledge is extremely unreasonable, unduly burdensome, and calculated to serve no purpose other than to harass Amazon’s top executives and disrupt its business operations”. The Seattle octopus also said it cooperated for more than a year with FTC staff and produced approximately 37,000 pages of documents to provide information regarding the sign-up and termination process for its Prime service.

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Amazon asks for more time to respond to the FTC

This is clearly not enough for the competition authority, which sent requests for individual investigations, similar to subpoenas, to the homes of around 20 current and former Amazon employees. The American firm sees this as a relentlessness against it, insofar as it considers that the FTC’s requests concern subjects that are far too vast, for which no testimony will be sufficiently complete and precise. In addition, Amazon believes that the deadlines for responding to requests from the commission are too short. The American group is thus asking the FTC to extend the deadline for providing information to September 15, instead of August 5.

Despite its protests, Amazon is unlikely to see the competition policeman’s requests for information dropped. But the American giant is playing for time to better prepare its defense, while an antitrust lawsuit could be imposed on it for its business practices related to Prime. Amazon’s premium service has already found itself in the sights of the European Commission, which in early July forced the group to facilitate the termination of its Prime subscription. The latter, which has more than 200 million subscribers worldwide, saw its prices rise sharply a few weeks later in Europe, after suffering the same fate in the United States at the start of the year. A way for Amazon to mitigate the effects of inflation and to inflate its margins before possible legal proceedings which could slow down its development across the Atlantic.

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