How Can they Both Lose?

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a front for Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, has offered to help the Federal Trade Commission go after Amazon and Google.

I love it when evil goes up against evil, because it’s a win-win for the rest of us:

A leading U.S. retail group, whose members include Walmart, Target, Best Buy and others, has penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission that details its concerns over big tech companies’ dominance. The letter specifically calls out Amazon and Google for their control over the majority of internet product searches, how price and product information reaches consumers and other concerns.

The letter, written by The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), urges the FTC to take a closer look at the big tech platforms. The group also offers to help in any antitrust investigations.

“It should…be quite concerning to the Commission that Amazon and Google control the majority of all Internet product search, and can very easily affect whether and how price and product information actually reaches consumers,” write the RILA. “Moreover, these firms are extraordinarily adept at determining how small changes in the way in which information is conveyed affect consumer behavior — given that nearly everything they do is driven by big-data science and machine learning models,” the letter continues.


The group asks the FTC to consider rules and enforcement actions that require companies to disclose where products come from, whether they’re new or used, whether their sale is authorized and how the price from one seller compares to others. Amazon is mentioned here as an example of the problems that can arise when a firm controls an “essential platform” like Amazon Marketplace and also competes on that same platform.

Additionally, the letter asks the FTC to look beyond the consumer benefit of lowered prices or free services — sometimes by subsidizing the platform with other profit streams.

Here is hoping that they manage to reduce each other to a bloody pulp.

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