A group of leading US retailers including Walmart, Target and Best Buy are pushing antitrust enforcers to investigate tech giants like Amazon and Google’s increasing grip on the market.
The group, which is calling itself the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), is preparing to present its competition concerns to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
RILA wrote in a letter to the FTC on Sunday that these tech companies effectively create an “information bottleneck”, allowing them to manipulate the online retail market and avoid traditional price competition concerns.
Concerns were also raised that these companies are able to favour their own products and sellers over rival brands and retailers, while collecting vital data about them.
According to the letter, it is “the combination of information control and market power that should worry antitrust regulators the most.
“That unhealthy combination exists at the level of the internet’s pipelines, at the level of product search, in webhosting, on social media platforms and elsewhere.”
“RILA does not file this comment to complain about competition from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Visa, or any other technology or payments platform. Indeed, retail leaders comment to ask for more competition, not less. But all competition must be on a fair and level playing field.”
RILA’s vice president of innovation Nicholas Ahrens added: “It’s pretty clear to us that the FTC and different relevant regulators should be taking a much closer look at these platform companies. We are here to help.”
Last month the FTC and Justice Department decided to divide oversight into Silicon Valley’s tech giants Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple between them, with the FTC taking Amazon and Facebook with the Justice Department will oversee Google and Apple.
Amazon and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.