Google and Amazon harmful to consumers? Walmart, Target, Home Depot and others think so

By WalmartFOXBusiness

Government launches antitrust investigations into Big Tech

Elevations Partners Co-Founder Roger McNamee and “WSJ at Large” host Gerry Baker discuss whether power and influence of Big Tech in our daily lives is evident.

A group of the largest U.S. retailers is backing a potential antitrust probe by the Trump administration into Google and Amazon, claiming the vast advertising, search and data collection operations of the two big tech firms create an unfair advantage that is detrimental for consumers.

Continue Reading Below

The White House is dividing up oversight of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple between the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
GOOGLALPHABET INC.1,146.74-6.72-0.58%
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.1,992.03-17.87-0.89%

It remains unclear how sweeping of investigation the administration is plotting, but Trump has alluded several times to the potentially monopolistic power of the tech giants, even alleging that Google is trying to undermine his 2020 presidential election. The Mountain View, California-based company has denied that its products have any sort of political leaning.

Now, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which represents companies including Walmart, Home Depot, Target and Best Buy, is backing the White House’s probe efforts.

In a letter published Sunday to the FTC, the group called on the agency to "focus on ensuring that competition among retailers actually benefits consumers, rather than seeing those benefits stifled by dominant players and persistent oligopolies.”

MORE FROM FOXBUSINESS.COM...

A Google spokesperson did not respond to request for comment. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the letter. The company has repeatedly touted that it represents less than 4 percent of U.S. retail sales.

Among the biggest complaints from RILA is Amazon's and Google’s control of product and pricing information in internet searches that “has the power to skew markets and shape consumer behavior in ways that circumvent the traditional power of price competition.”

“A firm does not need to have the power to control prices if it has the power to control effective access to price information,” the group wrote.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
WMTWALMART INC.114.60-0.16-0.14%
HDTHE HOME DEPOT INC.215.61-1.65-0.76%
TGTTARGET CORP.87.86-0.45-0.51%
BBYBEST BUY74.23-0.55-0.74%

The quality of the products offered by Google, Amazon and other tech giants have degraded as the firms have assumed their immense market control, according to RILA, and their data collection practices violate user privacy.

“Though these are non-price harms, they should easily suffice to place further acquisitions, exclusionary conduct, or deceptive interfaces and advertisements created by these dominant companies under the heaviest possible scrutiny,” the letter reads.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX BUSINESS APP

In regards to Amazon, RILA charged that the Seattle-based firm suggests that every product or brand is available on its signature marketplace “even though that is not true and tends to deceive consumers.”

“It allows Amazon to erode the brand loyalty through which these retailers compete,” the group wrote.