Watch the best moments from Jeff Bezos' testimony before Congress
13:12

Watch the best moments from Jeff Bezos' testimony before Congress

Tech Industry
More than a million sellers and so I'm sure that there have been stolen goods. Really, Mr. Bezos. Really Mr. Bezos. I'm Sorry. There's not, you don't believe that there is it surprises me. With over a million sellers I'm sure that it has happened [MUSIC] I will tell you a former Amazon employee in third party sales and recruitment told this committee quote, there's a rule but there's nobody enforcing or spot checking. They just say don't help yourself to the data. It's a candy shop, everyone can have access to anything they want. Do category managers have access to nonpublic data about third party products and businesses. I, here's what I can tell you that we do have certain safeguards in place we train people on the policy. We expect people to follow that policy the same way we would any other. It's a voluntary policy as far as I'm aware, no other. There's no action at all.>> There's no There's no actual and so it's voluntary and there's no actual enforcement. So maybe the answer's. Sorry, no, I think I may have misspoke. I'm trying to say that Amazon's the fact that we have such a policy is voluntary. I think no other retailer even has such a policy. Well, that's. Worse of that policy, we would treat that like any internal policy. And if we found that someone violated it, we would take action against them. You have access to data that your competitors do not have. So you might allow third party sellers onto your platform. But if you're continuously monitoring the data to make sure. That they're never gonna get big enough that they can compete with you. That is actually the concern that the committee has. And I think your company started in my district. I wanna thank you for that. I wanna thank you for the work that you've done, and say that the whole goal of this committee's work, Is to make sure that there are more Amazons that there are more apples, that there are more companies that get to innovate and small businesses get to thrive. And that is what we're trying to get at. That is why we need to regulate these marketplaces so that no company has a platform so dominant that it is essentially a monopoly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have a small apparel company that makes themselves What they call useful apparel for people who work on their feet and with their hands, like construction workers and firefighters. This particular business discovered and started selling a unique item that had been never been a top seller for the brand. They were making about $60,000 a year on just this one item. One day they woke up and found that Amazon had started listing the exact same product. Causing enough sales to go to zero over nine. Amazon undercut their price, setting it below what the manufacturer would generally allow it to be sold. So that even if they wanted to, they couldn't match the price. Here's how the apparel company described working with Amazon and I quote Amazon stringing you along for a while because it feels so good to get that paycheck every week. And in the past, for lack of a better term, we call it Amazon heroin, because you just kept going, and you had to get your next fix your next check. But at the end of the day, you find out that this person who is seemingly benefiting you, make you feel good, was just ultimately going to be your downfall, end quote. So Mr. Bezos is one of your partners. Why on earth would they compare your company to a drug dealer? Sir, I have great respect for you in this committee, but I completely disagree with that characterization. What we have done is create a in the store a place if you go back in time We sold only our own inventory. It was a very controversial decision inside the company to invite third party sellers to come into what is really our most valuable retail real estate, our product detail pages. We did that because we were convinced that it would be better for the consumer it would be better for the customer, to have all of that selection. And I think we were right. Yeah, I think it's worked out reclaiming my time. Unfortunately, this is one from a reclaiming my time Mr. Bezos This is one of many small companies that have told us during this year long investigation that they were mistreated, abused and tossed aside by Amazon. The evidence we've collected shows that Amazon is only interested in exploiting its monopoly power. Power over the e commerce marketplace to further expand and protect this power. This investigation makes clear that Amazon's dual role as a platform operator and competing seller on that platform is fundamentally anti competitive, and Congress must take action.>> Mr. Bazils to base those are our stolen goods sold on Amazon? Congresswoman not to my knowledge although there are more than more than a million sellers and so I'm sure that there have been stolen goods. Really Mr. Bay? I am sorry. There's not you don't believe that there are prizes me With over a million sellers. I'm sure that it has happened But certainly I don't think it's a large part of what we're selling. Okay, so Mr. bezels, basically, then you're saying yes I guess so. Thank you. Thank you so much. You said that sellers have many other attractive options to reach customers. But that's not at all what we found in our investigation according to a marketer, a source Amazon cited in submissions to this committee. Amazon has nearly seven times the market share of its closest e-commerce competitor. One seller told us that and I quote, Amazon continues to be the only show in town, no matter how angry sellers get, they have nowhere else to go. So are you saying that these people aren't being truthful When they say that Amazon is the only game in town? Yeah, Congresswoman, with great respect, I do disagree with that. I believe that there are a lot of options. And some of them are not even listed on that chart. I just looked at it briefly, but I didn't see that I know of, for example So I think there are a lot of things. Thank you. All right, thank you for that. My time is short. If Amazon didn't have monopoly power over these sellers, do you think they would choose to stay in a relationship that is characterized by bullying, fear and panic. With all respect, Congresswoman, I do not accept the premise of your question. That is not how we operate the business. In fact, we work very hard to provide for sellers and that's why they've been so. Thank you for that. Do you believe that the Chinese government steals technology from US companies? Mr. Bezos. [BLANK_AUDIO] You're on mute mr Bezos. I believe you're on mute. I'm sorry. I've seen I have heard many reports of that. And I haven't seen it personally but I've heard many reports of it. So of all the different products that Amazon carries, you haven't seen that in any of the companies that sell products on Amazon or your company, yourself. I will certainly there are knockoff products if that's what you mean. And they're counterfeit products and all of that. But the Chinese if the answer is the Chinese government stealing technology, that's the thing I read about Reports of but don't have a personal experience with. Amazon is a a trillion dollar company but Amazon customers are not guaranteed that the products purchased on your platform are authentic. Amazon acts like it's not responsible for counterfeits being sold by third party sellers on its platform We've heard that Amazon puts the burden and cost on brand owners to police Amazon site. Even though Amazon makes money when a counterfeit good is sold on its site. More than half of Amazon sales come from third party seller accounts. Why isn't Amazon more aggressive in ensuring that counterfeit goods are not sold on its platform and why isn't Amazon responsible for keeping all counterfeit products off of its platform? [BLANK_AUDIO] That this is an incredibly important issue and one that we work very hard on counterfeits are a scourge They are a problem that is not does not help us earn trust with customers. It's bad for customers. It's bad for honest third party sellers. We do a lot to prevent counterfeiting. We have a team of more than 1000 people that does this. We invest hundreds of millions of dollars in systems to do this. We have something called Project Zero. Which helps brands serialise individual products which really help in with counterfeiting, we have other programmes as well Am glad that you have those features in place but why isn't Amazon responsible for keeping all counterfeit products off of it's platform We certainly work to do so, Congressman and we do so not just for our own retail products, but for third party products as well. So Mr. Bezos does Amazon use confidential information that companies share via AWS. To build competing services. No, sir. Not that I'm aware of. AWS does often, they do keep expanding their services. AWS started, 15 years ago into this entire category. Let me just clarify that Mr. Bezos. Appreciate that sorry. Apologies for interrupting but Last week one of Amazon's former engineers posted online that he and his team quote proactively identified growing businesses on AWS that they built competing products, and that they targeted those products to the business's customers. And there's been public reporting on that strategy. So I guess I'm wonder if you can comment on that and How you would account for those statements? Well, I think there may be category, some databases, and different kinds, and so on where we see that it's an important product for customers and we make our own product offering in that arena. And but it doesn't mean we stop servicing the other companies that are also making those products. We have competitors using AWS and we work very hard to make them successful. Netflix is one example Hulu is another and so on. Your own documents make clear that the price war against diapers calm worked and within a few months it was struggling And so then Amazon bought it. After buying your leading competitor here. Amazon cut promotions like amazon.mom and the steep discounts it used to lure customers away from diapers.com and then increase the prices of diapers for new moms and dads. Mr. Bezos, did you personally sign off on the plan to raise prices after Amazon eliminated its competition? I don't remember that at all. Thank you. What I remember is we matched competitor prices, and I believe we followed Diapers.com. Again, this is 11 years ago so you're asking a lot of my memory. I believe we follow diapers calm. I can also tell you that after we bought diapers dot com>>Okay, we put just more than 100 million dollars trying to make it successful>>Sorry. I'm, so you said that Amazon focuses excessively on customers. So how would customers especially single moms, new families, How would they benefit when the prices were driven up by the fact that you've eliminated your main competitor?. Well, I don't agree with great respect. I don't agree with that premise. At the same time, you should recognise in context Diapers is a very large product category sold in many, many places, not just [INAUDIBLE] This was the online diaper market. We do have evidence that these predatory. I'm sorry Mr. Bezos, I need to push on here. The evidence we've collected suggests that the predatory practices weren't unique here. In 2013, it was reported that you instructed Amazon employees to approach discussions with certain business partners and I quote, the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly Gazelle. Is the Gazelle projects still in place and does Amazon pursue similar predatory campaigns in other parts of its business? I cannot comment on that because I don't remember it. What I can tell you is that we are very, very focused on the customer as you started. And of course, we can offer those two phases one. [COUGH] From almost at a time. I'm concerned too because especially with the current pandemic, one of the biggest needs I'm seeing at the food drives and the giveaways that we're having to run in my district is that families don't have diapers and, And we have to collect them to give them out. So it certainly is something that has a really hard impact on families. And I'm really concerned that pricing might have been driven up here by this tactic, and I yield back.

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