RILA Voices Support of FTC's Antitrust Probe Into Amazon, Google
In a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission on June 30, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) voiced its support for the FTC's antitrust probes of Amazon.com and other large technology companies, reports Footwear News. RILA's member organizations include big-box retailers (and perhaps not coincidentally, Amazon competitors) Walmart, Target, Gap, Best Buy, and many other large brands, and the group offered to assist in the investigations. The FTC and Department of Justice are reportedly looking into a handful of the country’s largest tech firms, including Facebook, Google parent company Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple regarding violation of antitrust laws. The letter from RILA notes that "Amazon and Google control the majority of all of internet product search, and can very easily affect whether and how price and product information actually reaches consumers," making it easy to direct traffic to their own products.
Total Retail's Take: Although RILA says its support of the probe isn't to complain about competition from these leading companies, and rather invites more competition, its action suggests otherwise. The association makes pointed references to these large players in its letter to the FTC. RILA stated that the FTC should be "pursuing policies and enforcement actions that curtail anticompetitive business practices, remove roadblocks to innovation, and ensure the ability of all retailers to improve the customer experience, unconstrained by the market power of other actors who can shape that experience to their own benefit." Amazon has been under FTC scrutiny in the past, facing a short-lived probe when it acquired Whole Foods Market. In addition, Apple was under investigation by the European Commission, the EU's law enforcement agency, during its acquisition of Shazam in 2018. Interestingly, RILA's membership page lists Apple as an active member of the association.