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New Stargate Watch: Amazon Probe Gathers Pace as FTC Issues Subpoenas

Federal Trade Commission subpoenas employees over concerns that Amazon intentionally misleads customers. Plus, Amazon acquires Roomba makers iRobot.

If you have a stake in whether or not Amazon Prime Video decides to commission a new Stargate show – or even whether all three series and the movies become a permanent fixture on Prime Video – it pays to keep an eye on the business pages.

Back in June, we noted that  Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan – who wrote a 2017 essay on how antitrust (anti-monopoly) legislation should be applied to Amazon – had the tech giant in her crosshairs after previously being forced to approve the MGM acquisition.

On Thursday, the FTC issued subpoenas – a legal instrument that compels someone to appear before a court – to current and former Amazon employees as part of a widening investigation into Amazon Prime’s subscription and cancellation process. The FTC is reportedly looking to discover whether or not Amazon’s ambiguous language breaks the law by intentionally misleading customers.

Business Insider notes:

Internal documents reported by Insider in March showed that Amazon has for years worried about customers feeling tricked into signing up for Prime but opted not to use clearer language because it didn’t want to slow the growth of its subscription business.

Meanwhile, Amazon announced the acquisition of Roomba manufacturer iRobot Corp for a cool USD$1.7 billion on Friday, which Reuters argues raises the stakes – Roomba already represents 75 per cent of the robot vacuum cleaner market, so having them under the Amazon umbrella could be deemed an advantage at the expensive of a competitive market.

Amanda Lewis of the law firm Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca LLP told Bloomberg that the acquisition “would put Amazon in a position to disadvantage rivals on the platform and block access to important tools to reach new customers, like buying ads on Amazon.com.”

What this means for a new Stargate series is impossible to say, but it’s all directly relevant as the outcome will almost certainly impact whether or not the MGM deal is subject to additional scrutiny.

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