Despite the FTC’s charges and lawsuit, Amazon shows no signs of slowing down in its growth. It’s even expanding further into other sectors of the market besides e-commerce and cloud services. The company is working to transform the grocery industry in the way it has book sales and other retail products, and has made clear its intentions to become a major player in the healthcare sphere as well.
This may be why the FTC is looking to act now after years of regulatory investigations. Historically, the U.S. government has tried to keep corporations in check after organizations have grown to the point of becoming a monopoly, stifling growth and competition and harming both consumers and other businesses.
The massive telecommunications giant Bell Systems, founded by telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, was famously broken up by the government in 1982. Now, Bell Systems currently exists as multiple separate and competitive companies including AT&T and Verizon.
Even more recently, Microsoft was nearly broken up into smaller companies after dominating the PC industry in the 1990s with its Windows platform. It avoided the breakup on appeal, and has remained a major player in the tech industry. Considering the increased scrutiny on major tech companies by the FTC, Microsoft could join Amazon as the government looks to address any unlawful antitrust actions.
For now, Lina Khan implied the FTC isn’t looking to get ahead of itself by breaking up Amazon, saying “At this stage, the focus is more on liability.”