Regulators Are Going After AMZN and GOOGL

Amazon (Ticker: AMZNWealth Strength IndexAMZN is Moderately Flat and trending Down) could face heightened antitrust scrutiny under a new agreement between the government’s twin antitrust agencies that puts it under closer watch by the Federal Trade Commission, The Washington Post reports. The move would divvy up competition oversight of two of the country’s top tech companies, with the U.S. Justice Department having more jurisdiction over Google (GOOG, GOOGLWealth Strength IndexGOOGL is Moderately Flat and trending Up) and paving the way for a potential investigation of the search-and-advertising giant.

But antitrust probes of tech companies in the US are hobbled by the prevailing view of competition law, which requires showing that consumers were harmed. That’s hard to quantify when tech companies offer free services in exchange for personal data, and then use that data to make their products better and faster. The US hasn’t brought a big antitrust suit against a tech company since it took on Microsoft 20 years ago.