Destroying the US Market for Books

The NY Times gets this one absolutely right.

"This week, as part of a contract dispute with the publisher Hachette, we’re seeing Amazon behaving at its worst. The company’s willingness to nakedly flex its anticompetitive muscle gives new cause for concern to anyone who cares about books — authors, publishers, but mainly customers ...

But the more basic problem here is that Amazon is violating its own code. To win a corporate battle, Amazon is ruining its customer experience. Mr. Bezos has long pointed to customer satisfaction as his North Star; making sure customers are treated well is the guiding principle for how he runs Amazon.

Now Amazon is raising prices, removing ordering buttons, lengthening shipping times and monkeying with recommendation algorithms. Do these sound like the moves of a man who cares about customers above all else?"

This in the wake of the DoJ's successful prosecution of Apple and the Big Five publishers who it accused of engaging in illegal collusion to fix e-book prices. From Amazon's post-trial behavior, it's apparent that the DoJ and Judge Denise Cote picked the wrong side, stomped on abused entities that were trying to renew competition in the market, and restored a monopoly to power -- exactly what the government is not supposed to do.