Franklin Foer, at the New Republic, argues that the answer is yes. The alleged “crime”: predatory pricing — if not express, than at least in spirit.
In “There’s one huge problem with calls for anti-trust action against Amazon” at vox.com, Matthew Yglesias rightly points out that market share does not by itself a monopoly make, and further argues that
One important hint about Amazon’s non-monopoly status can be found in its quarterly financial reports. That’s where you find out about a company’s profits. In its most recent quarter, for example, Amazon lost $126 million. Losing money is pretty typical for Amazon, which is not really a profitable company. If you’d like to know more about that, I published 5,000 words on the subject in January. But suffice it to say that “low and often non-existent profits” and “monopoly” are not really concepts that go together.
Competitors hate Amazon because retail was an ultra-competitive low-margin game before Jeff Bezos ever came to town. To delve into this field and make it even more competitive and even lower-margin seems somewhere between unseemly and insane — but it’s the reverse of a monopoly.
Of course, U.S. price predation law can be violated when a firm prices below cost — and loses money — if it is likely to recoup its losses later after its competitors exit the market and it raises prices. Query whether that is a possibility with online distribution — I don’t know, and am not taking a position for now, but there are certainly reasons to be pretty skeptical — low entry barriers and the like.
Interesting discussion, though.
Update: Paul Krugman says that “Amazon’s Monopsony Is Not O.K.” But the problems he identifies seem largely theoretical.
Update II: The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon just reported its biggest operating loss.