Recode’s Jason Del Rey offers a first look at some of the questions the FTC has been asking Amazon competitors about its business. The FTC has sought intel about Amazon’s product fulfillment pricing structure, competition against its own sellers, and whether bundling services with Prime allows Amazon to undercut competitors. This line of questioning could indicate which parts of Amazon’s business the FTC will probe if it officially launches an antitrust investigation into the company. Over the past few days, reports have indicated that government regulators plan to increase their scrutiny of Amazon, along with Google, Facebook, and Apple.
[Jason Del Rey / Recode]
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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is buying three apartments on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for $80 million — a record for the area. The purchase comes months after Amazon reneged on plans for opening a second headquarters in Long Island City amid public protests over the government subsidies given to the e-commerce giant. The New York Post recently reported that Amazon was again looking for New York City office space, this time in Manhattan. This can be seen as a victory for community organizers and politicians who pushed back against the Long Island City deal. It seems Amazon will expand in New York after all — sans all those tax incentives.
[Katherine Clarke / Wall Street Journal]
Two software developers are suing Apple for price-fixing. The makers behind a basketball workout app and a baby-naming app allege that Apple creates an unfair environment for app makers in its App Store. As a part of their lawsuit, they claim the company is constraining their ability to make a profit by prohibiting apps to sell for less than 99 cents or at a price that doesn’t end in 99 cents. They also take issue with having to sell through the App Store because Apple claims a 30 percent cut of any in-app sales. This is the latest in a string of lawsuits brought against the hardware giant for anti-competitive behavior in its App Store. This week, the Justice Department claimed oversight of any potential antitrust investigations involving Apple.
[Bob Van Voris and Peter Blumberg / Bloomberg]
Square is sending its customers’ digital receipts to the wrong people. These mishaps have included sensitive information like fees paid to a divorce attorney and doctor’s office, according to the Wall Street Journal. Square said there are several reasons why this is happening, including shared credit card numbers, recycled phone numbers, and incorrect information from the seller or buyer. However, in some cases, it’s not clear why a certain person received the wrong receipts. These mistakes highlight the immense amount of data the payment company has on consumer behavior — and what could go wrong if that data isn’t properly handled. Square told the Wall Street Journal that instances of getting the wrong receipt are rare but that the company has made changes to reduce these errors and plans to do more to fix the issue.
[Peter Rudegeair / Wall Street Journal]
Top Stories from Recode
When US regulators investigated Google before, they gave it a pass. What about now? When the European Union looked at Google, it hit the company with about $9 billion in fines.
Why does Washington suddenly seem ready to regulate Big Tech? Look at the polls. The precipitating event for Silicon Valley’s regulatory reckoning? A change in our political beliefs.
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