Antitrust investigations can become a study of ancient history when regulator's take on the fast-changing world of tech.
But the European Union may actually be ahead of the curve this time, says Richard Waters, in launching a competition probe into Amazon’s business model even before it has received a formal complaint about its practices from rival merchants.
At issue is Amazon's dual role as a competitor and also host to the third-party merchants that sell goods on its marketplace.
Shannon Bond reports from Seattle that merchants are seeing returns from selling products on the platform coming under pressure, and they blame the rising cost of accessing Amazon’s data and advertising services — and the online retailer’s growing stable of own-label products.
“We’re seeing that Amazon is making a lot of push on profitability,” said Guru Hariharan, a former Amazon executive and founder of ecommerce software company Boomerang Commerce. “It’s not a serendipitous outcome that you’re seeing Amazon turning the corner. They’ve gotten way more aggressive.”
Meanwhile, Lex has been looking at the case for breaking Amazon up, with the cloud services operation separated from retail.
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Sale of the century
They could make this into a TV game show. The £26bn battle for control of Sky, the European pay TV operator, between Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and US cable group Comcast, will be decided by an auction, with up to three rounds, that will take place on Saturday.
Alibaba trade war worries
The ecommerce giant's founder Jack Ma has warned that the tariff flare-up between the US and China is the opening shot in a trade war that could last for 20 years. He's also withdrawn his promise to create 1m jobs in the US. The company is also trying to reduce its reliance on US tech by ramping up its push into leading-edge technologies, developing superfast quantum computers and aiming to have its first artificial intelligence chips on the market next year.
Tencent going for a song
Tencent Music is aiming to raise at least $2bn in an initial public offering, a smaller amount than anticipated for what had been expected to be the largest US flotation of the year. Lex says it can't be compared with Spotify yet.
Breaking up with social
Louisiana attorney-general Jeff Landry says he will tell the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions next week that Google, Facebook and Twitter should be broken up. He accuses them of suppressing conservative views and stifling competition. (Mercury News)
Facebook on a date
Facebook begins publicly testing its online-dating product, imaginatively called Dating, in Colombia today. Wired has been trying it out and says you can expect to find exactly zero swiping.
Tech tools you can use — iOS 12
I downloaded the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system this week, but have so far only had time to appreciate the voice memo function being added to my iPad, while I have struggled on my iPhone with the new app that uses augmented reality and the camera to measure distances. Luckily, Ars Technica has a more than thorough 10,000-word review and Fast Company has more of a bullet-point guide to enlighten you.
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