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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ‘can’t guarantee’ policy against using seller specific data hasn’t been violated

At the “Online Platforms and Market Power” digital antitrust listening to as we speak, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spoke a few coverage that’s meant to forestall the corporate from utilizing vendor particular information to assist it decide what merchandise it ought to manufacture and promote itself. “What I can tell you is, we have a policy against using seller specific data to aid our private label business,” Bezos mentioned. “But I can’t guarantee you that that policy has never been violated.”

Antitrust investigations matter to the businesses being scrutinized, in fact, but additionally all the companies that depend upon them. In this case, that features any enterprise that sells bodily items on-line. The query of whether or not Amazon makes use of information from retailers on its platform to assist launch competing merchandise is a contentious one. In July 2019, an Amazon lawyer advised the subcommittee that the corporate didn’t faucet information from particular person third-party retailers to find out what new merchandise to create. In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon did simply that. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who was the primary to query Bezos on the listening to, cited the article.

“I’m familiar with the Wall Street Journal article that you’re talking about,” Bezos mentioned. “And we continue to look into that very carefully. I’m not yet satisfied that we’ve gotten to the bottom of it, and we’re going to keep looking at it. It’s not as easy as you would think because some of the sources in the article are anonymous, but we continue to look into it.”

Bezos then tried to play up the truth that Amazon didn’t should have such a coverage. “The fact that we have such a policy is voluntary,” Bezos mentioned. “I think no other retailer even has such a policy. We would treat that like any internal policy, and if we found that someone violated it, we would take action against them.”

“Well, there’s numerous reports, and the committee has conducted interviews with former employees who confirm that there are employees who do have access to that data and are using it,” Jayapal responded. “So my next question was going to be: If you thought you were actually enforcing these rules, do you think that that’s working? And again, I would just say that there’s credible reporting that’s documented breaches of these rules that you have put into place. And the committee has interviewed employees that typically say that these breaches typically occur.”

Bezos as we speak additionally answered questions on whether or not Amazon costs Echo units under value (sure, in the event that they’re on promotion), whether or not HBO Max is coming to Fire TV (finally, Warner Bros. and Amazon are negotiating the small print), and whether or not Amazon has monopolistic energy (no, he rejects “the premise of the questions”). But the principle subject was about retailers making an attempt to promote their merchandise on Amazon.

Bezos was joined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Apple CEO Tim Cook as we speak on Webex. That in and of itself is a uncommon sight. But it is a uncommon look significantly for Bezos, who speaks the least in public out of the 4 CEOs (he doesn’t even take part in Amazon’s quarterly earnings calls) and in contrast to the opposite three has by no means sat earlier than Congress.

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