Connecticut is Investigating Amazon’s eBook Business
When I reported last Thursday that a class-action suit had been filed against Amazon, accusing them of conspiring with publishers, I apparently had missed that the state of Conn. is pursuing its own investigation.
That have not released specifics, alas:
The probe is one of many into the e-commerce platform’s business practices. Amazon is also under investigation by the attorneys general in New York, California and Washington state and the Federal Trade Commission.
“Connecticut has an active and ongoing antitrust investigation into Amazon regarding potentially anticompetitive terms in their e-book distribution agreements with certain publishers,” Attorney General William Tong said in a statement to Reuters.
The probe comes as technology platforms face a backlash in the United States and across the world, fueled by concerns among regulators, lawmakers and consumer groups that firms have too much power and are harming users and business rivals.
While this does raise my hopes that the agency contracts will be broken, I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that there’s a case here. This is not nearly the same situation as when news broke of the price-fixing conspiracy involving Apple and five publishers. It was patently obvious to bystanders at the time that the Price Fix Six had conspired, but we have no similar evidence now. (Frankly, publishers hate Amazon too much to enter into a conspiracy with the retailer.)
I would love to be proven wrong, but at this point we have no reason to expect that to happen.