Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos made a long-awaited first-ever appearance before a congressional hearing. In 5-hour long antitrust meeting, 15-member panel ultimately got a chance to grill Bezos. The CEO dialled in through video conference while most of the committee members were present in Congress.
In the opening statement delivered by Jeff Bezos, he lays out his challenging life story- where he came from, and that he and his family are proud to be an American. He talks about how to earn customers’ trust, and how Amazon has succeeded in gaining it while competing with companies thrice to Amazon’s size. He talks about Amazon’s market share and how integration with the third-party sellers is beneficial for the business. The company has always encouraged entrepreneurs, given job opportunities to people and the employee benefits, and the salary offered is more than enough.
The hearing, for Jess Bezos, started with Rep. Pramila Jayapal pointing out that last July, Nate Sutton, Amazon’s associate general counsel testified that Amazon doesn’t access sales data from sellers to make its private labelled brands. “Our incentive is to help the seller succeed because we rely on them,”
Jayapal then point-blank questions, “Mr Bezos, has your company ever accessed data to make business decisions? To which Bezos replied that we do have a policy against accessing sellers’ data to aid amazon labelled products but I can’t guarantee that the policy has never been violated.
Bezos’s response, when referenced wall street journal released in April 2020 which revealed that Amazon does access the third party seller data, was that we are looking into the allegations extensively.
Additionally, Jayapal quoted a former employee, there are rules but no one is enforcing them, all the non-public data about the third party products and businesses are accessible to everybody. To which Bezos replied, we have policies put in place and we expect people to follow them but its voluntary policy.
Jayapal then further states Amazon has access to data that its competitors don’t and when Amazon leverage this data, it doesn’t leave other small businesses with much scope to innovate. The agenda is other companies should also get opportunities, that they shouldn’t thrive so that there can be more Amazons or more Apples. No company should be so dominant that the market becomes monopolistic.
Amazon's Assoc. General Counsel told me under oath that Amazon does NOT, “use any specific seller data when creating its own private brand product.”
Reports revealed that was a lie: that they DO access data on third party sellers.
So I just asked Jeff Bezos which it is. Watch: pic.twitter.com/MiR7NHI7Y8
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) July 29, 2020
When Congresswoman, Ms Mcbeth asked that if stolen goods were sold on Amazon, to which Bezos agreed saying, there are millions of products I am sure it must have happened but it is certainly not the large part of what we are selling.
She further added, you previously said the third party sellers have listed numerous attractive options to reach customers but our findings represent something else. It shows that your products are majorly in the game.
Later she asked that if Amazon wasn’t a monopoly do you think sellers would have still chosen your company where the partnership characterized by your partners quote bullying, fear, and panic. Bezos completely denied the premise saying we do not operate our business in that manner, we value our customers and clients.
Rep Mr Johnson asked why is Amazon not ensuring that counterfeit products don’t go up on the platform, to which Bezos replied that we have a team to take care of it.
So if you read between the lines you can observe that Jeff Bezos may not have accepted a few of the charges openly but he did not deny them as well. And we all know what not denying the charges means.