D.C. Attorney General Sues Amazon on Antitrust Grounds

Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Karl A. Racine, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.com seeking to end its anticompetitive practices that have raised prices for consumers and stifled innovation and choice across the entire online retail market.

Amazon has used its dominant position in the online retail market to win at all costs. It maximizes profits at the expense of third-party sellers and consumers, while harming competition, stifling innovation, and illegally tilting the playing field in its favor,” said AG Racine. “We filed this antitrust lawsuit to put an end to Amazon’s illegal control of prices in the retail marketplace that expands options available to District residents and promotes competition, innovation, and choice.

CNBC reported that that Attorney General Racine is seeking to end Amazon’s illegal use of price agreements to avoid competition. The lawsuit also asks for damages and penalties to deter similar conduct. The lawsuit asks the court to stop what it calls Amazon’s ability to harm competition through a variety of remedies as needed, which could include structural relief, often referred to as a form of breakup.

According to CNBC, shares of Amazon barely moved on the announcement, down 1% as of Tuesday afternoon.

In my opinion, Attorney General Racine is doing the right thing by filing this kind of lawsuit against Amazon. Unfortunately, given how much money Amazon has, it seems likely that it has much more financial resources than an Attorney General’s office would have. I suspect that Amazon will win the case because it can spend more on attorneys and will not be harmed by dragging out the lawsuit for as long as possible.