US Senator Seeks To Break Up Amazon Amid India Controversy

US Senator Elizabeth Warren called for breaking up Amazon Inc and Indian retailers demanded a government probe of the company after a Reuters investigation showed the e-commerce giant had copied products and rigged search results in India.

US Senator Seeks To Break Up Amazon Amid India Controversy

The Reuters report, reviewing thousands of internal Amazon documents, found that the US company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own private brands in India, one of the company’s largest growth markets.

Wednesday’s report showed that, at least in India, manipulating search results to favour Amazon’s products, as well as copying other sellers’ goods, were part of a formal strategy at Amazon – and that at least two senior executives had reviewed it.

Internal documents has exposed how Amazon deployed a secret strategy to bypass Indian laws by frequently changing its corporate structure and killing small businesses by illegally favoring a handful of companies it had stakes in.

Amazon was being investigated for crushing Startups by investing in them to steal their proprietary information and business ideas for launching competitors.

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Meanwhile, Amazon is recruiting 26 former FBI agents in order to provide security from and smash the workers unions. The tech-giant is employing services of specialists to collect and monitor information on organized labor.

Currently, the company is facing one of the largest union pushes with more than six thousand employees in the Amazon Birmingham facility voting to form a union.

The investigation drew bipartisan criticism of Amazon from U.S. lawmakers.

Linking to the story on Twitter and Facebook, Warren, a long-time critic of Amazon, said “these documents show what we feared about Amazon’s monopoly power – that the company is willing and able to rig its platform to benefit its bottom line while stiffing small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

“This is one of the many reasons we need to break it up,” she said.

Warren, a prominent Democrat, advocated the breakup of Amazon and other tech giants in 2019 when she was running for president.

Since then, as a senator from Massachusetts, she has continued to apply pressure on companies like Amazon.

Ken Buck, a Republican on the House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee, also shared the story on social media, saying, “These documents prove Amazon engages in anticompetitive practices such as rigging search results and self-preferencing their own products over competitors.”

“More concerning, it contradicts what Jeff Bezos told Congress,” the Colorado lawmaker said. “Amazon and Bezos must be held accountable.”

Asked for comment on the reactions, Amazon issued a statement similar to one it provided for the Reuters investigation.

“These allegations are incorrect and unsubstantiated,” it said. “We display search results based on relevance to the customers, irrespective of whether such products are private brands offered by sellers or not.”

Amazon said it “strictly prohibits the use or sharing of non-public, seller-specific data with sellers, including with sellers of private brands,” and investigates reports of its employees acting contrary to that policy.

The company did not comment on the criticisms by US lawmakers or Indian retailers.

In sworn testimony before the subcommittee last year, Amazon founder Bezos said the company prohibits its employees from using data on individual sellers to help its private-label business.

In 2019 another Amazon executive testified that the company does not use such data to create its own private-label products or alter its search results to favour them.

The Amazon documents reviewed by Reuters showed how the company’s private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data from its India unit to copy products sold by other companies, then offered them on its platform.

The company promoted sales of its private brands like AmazonBasics by rigging search results on its platform in India so that its products would appear, as one 2016 strategy report put it, “in the first 2 or three … search results.”

A group representing millions of India’s brick-and-mortar retailers said on Thursday the country’s government must launch an investigation into Amazon.

“Amazon is causing a great disadvantage to the small manufacturers. They are eating the cake that is not meant for them,” Praveen Khandelwal of the Confederation of All India Traders told Reuters.

The group says it represents 80 million retail stores in the country.

Indian retailers say foreign e-commerce businesses like Amazon and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart indulge in unfair business practices that hurt smaller firms, allegations the companies deny.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation, a nonprofit representing some of India’s biggest startups, said the practices detailed in the Reuters report were “highly deplorable”, calling into question “the credibility of Amazon as a good faith operator in the Indian startup ecosystem”.

In a blog post, the group urged the Indian government to take action against “Amazon’s predatory playbook of copying, rigging and killing Indian brands”.

Meanwhile, Naukri.com founder Sanjeev Bikchandani has just confirmed what GreatGameIndia has been warning since the beginning – about the dangers of Foreign Direct Investment in India.

Bikchandani said foreign funds are the new East India Company that are colonising successful startups in India by transferring ownership overseas to skip Indian regulations and taxes.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Amazon is committing suicide via greed. It is so anxious to make a buck by selling each product multiple times it no longer is a good place to shop. The resellers have ruined any chance of finding things at a decent price as every time something is priced reasonably, the resellers grab it up (all of it) and relist it at a higher price. The fact that items are purchased through a reseller shields the manufacturer by making returns difficult if not impossible. This practice it not only allowed by Amazon, it is openly encouraged. All Amazon sees is that they are making money off of the same items more than once. Which shows they care not one iota for the consumers that fuel there whole enterprise. So, as usual, a few people make a huge profit at the expense of the collapse of the whole system. I really enjoyed shopping at Amazon, once upon a time, before the resellers ruined it.

  2. Articulate comment!Who made Bezos the behrmoth he is?????????Govt. Officials who were bribed,govt. Officials who gave Bezos too much of a tax break,too many times,and for too long while ignore labor,commerce,and environmental infractions.I heard that last year,in Alabama,Bezos was sooooo desperate to thwart the employees’ desperate attempts at self-protection via unionization,Bezos paid local officials to change the traffic signal’s so very short stops at that warehouse corner would prevent labor canvassers from trying to spread word about union efforts.
    Who else grew this Tyrant???????Everyone early on who chose to FUNNEL ALL OR MOST DISPOSABLE$ through Amazon with 0 thought to maintaining local union staffed retail or LOCAL FAMILY RUN RETAIL-you know the ones,they ARE THE BIZS WHO SUPPORT LITTLELEAGUE OR GIRLS SOCCER,ANIMAL SHELTERS,ART PROJECTS,LOCAL FESTIVALS=Culture.They did all this while giving humans Choice and diversity as well as more privacy in their shopping Experiences.Often,the products were locally or closer sourced=no China,India,Mexico.Stop supporting THE BEAST OVERLORD OPPRESSORS and shop thriftstore,garage sale,farmers markets,charity Christmas markets,local little stores,craftmalls.Barter or borrow or do without.

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