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Monday's HOT MIC

Monday's HOT MIC

Is it time to break up Amazon? I, for one, certainly think so. If you're wondering why the parking lot of that big mall near you now is the home of tumbling tumbleweeds, chances are good that its retail outlets have been put out of business by the online giant. Throw in Jeff Bezos' ownership of the Washington Post, his official lobbying mouthpiece in the nation's capital, as well as his proposed acquisition of Whole Foods, and you have something that looks very much like a commercial monopoly with an influential, First Amendment-protected newspaper attached to it.

Fresh off its biggest Prime Day yet, the Whole Foods Market Inc. bid, and a slew of announcements including Amazon Wardrobe, Amazon.com Inc. was the subject of two investor calls last week that raised concerns that it is getting too big. In one case, hedge-fund manager Douglas Kass said government intervention could be imminent.

“I am shorting Amazon today because I have learned that there are currently early discussions and due diligence being considered in the legislative chambers in Washington DC with regard to possible antitrust opposition to Amazon’s business practices, pricing strategy and expansion announcements already made (as well as being aimed at expansion strategies being considered in the future,” wrote Kass, head of Seabreeze Partners Management.

As Amazon AMZN, +0.49%   has grown, so has speculation about which retail category it will rule next. The company already dominates books, the cloud and electronics. And with moves in fashion and grocery, it appears the company has its eye on those sectors next. Its dominance has created major stress for brick-and-mortar retailers, who are suffering badly as they scramble to catch up.

Lower prices, consumer choice, convenience, blah blah blah. The primary question here is moral: do you want to put your neighbors on the unemployment line? Because you could be next.