August 3, 2021

“When Amazon accuses Lina Khan, the president of the American Competition Authority, of bias”

Pertes & profits. Jeff Bezos dislikes Lina Khan, an academic from Yale, Connecticut (United States), who wrote a highly regarded article in 2017 explaining that American antitrust laws were no longer suited to sanctioning abuses of dominance from e-commerce and tech giant Amazon. This was nothing to worry about, when she was then a brilliant doctoral student … But now Joe Biden had the bad idea to appoint the young woman, aged 32, at the head of the powerful Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the competition authority, which makes life difficult for companies caught up in monopolistic drift.

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The response was quick. The Seattle group lodged a complaint with the FTC on Wednesday, June 30, asking that this law professor at Columbia University in New York no longer comment on matters that concern her. ÔÇťAmazon should be treated like all large organizations, underlines the text. Even large companies deserve an impartial investigation. “ The FTC has five commissioners, but there is no doubt for Mr. Bezos’ company that its president has “Already made a decision” for Amazon records. An accusation of bias that Khan had rejected, in April, during his hearing by the Senate, which had confirmed his appointment as commissioner by 69 votes (against 28).

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The query does not fall by chance. The regulator must examine the plan to buy the famous Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) film studios for 8.45 billion dollars (7.1 billion euros), which would give Amazon Prime Video access to 4,000 films (including the James Bond franchise) and 17,000 television shows. Does Amazon fear a veto? The risk is limited. Americans love the competition between streaming platforms. And, so far, the regulator has never opposed buyout operations, which have flourished for ten years.

Slow down the expansion of GAFA

Another grievance: Mr. Bezos recalls that Khan served as an advisor to the House Judiciary Committee during the latter’s investigation into anti-competitive Big Tech practices. However, Congress is working on a “package” of laws, which, once is not customary, bring together Democrats and some Republicans. This arsenal aims to curb the expansion of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) and other Internet giants, increasingly diverse and greedy, but also (and especially) to strengthen antitrust control procedures. What great elected Democrats demand in the MGM file.

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