The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a group whose members include Walmart and Target, said it is ready to help federal regulators investigate tech giants including Amazon and Google, according to Bloomberg.
A representative from the group told Bloomberg it believes “platform companies” should be examined. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, it said tech firms have the power over brands’ fate, the ability to collect data on competitors and can favor their own products over those from competitors.
Traditional retailers are of course going to use this opportunity to attempt to neuter Amazon, arguably their most formidable competitor. Meanwhile, it’s easy to see how Amazon will push back against criticism from a group that includes Walmart, whose overall retail sales are more than twice Amazon’s. This story also mentions a statistic—which is not accurate—about how Amazon accounts for nearly 50% of ecommerce in the U.S. We reported last month that eMarketer, the firm behind that eye-popping figure, has adjusted its estimate of Amazon’s share of online sales down to 37%.
On the point of checking tech platforms’ power, it’s worth noting as well that, as we’ve reported, Amazon forbids employees from referring to the company as a “platform.“ That term has of late acquired a negative connotation. Amazon instead prefers to call itself a “service.” Looks like that language hasn’t stuck.