The CEOs from four of the largest tech companies are testifying in front of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust Wednesday. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for access to investor and analyst insights on Amazon and more: https://cnb.cx/3dIH56N
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appears to be making his own playbook in his first congressional testimony.
Bezos, the only CEO of the four who has never previously testified before Congress, has taken a different approach from his peers so far in the hearing, which went into recess beginning around 4:25 p.m. Eastern Time.
While the other CEOs tend to deny some issues raised by lawmakers or object to their framing, Bezos instead has responded with surprise and concern to allegations made about Amazon by competitors interviewed by the panel and documents it’s obtained.
When Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., presented Bezos with a recording of a former Amazon seller who claimed she was removed from the platform without explanation, Bezos said the anecdote “surprised him” and that he wanted to talk to the former seller who shared her story with the committee. McBath said that was missing the point of a larger problem, though Bezos said he did not believe it was systemic.
Later, when Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., brought up the testimony from the CEO of PopSockets at a January hearing. Johnson recounted that the executive alleged Amazon used counterfeit versions of PopSockets on the site as “leverage” and only cracked down on the counterfeits after the company committed to hefty advertising spend.
“That’s unacceptable,” Bezos responded. “If those are the facts and if someone somewhere inside Amazon said buy X dollars in ads and then we’ll help you with our counterfeit problem, that’s unacceptable.”
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