Bezos scheduled to testify to Congress on antitrust

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Jeff Bezos:

"We have to conduct ourselves in such a way that when we are scrutinized, we pass with flying colors."

Jeff Bezos will appear before a committee of US Congress members on Wednesday for an antitrust hearing. This marks the first time the Amazon founder and CEO will testify before Congress. Bezos will respond publicly to damaging reports alleging that Amazon uses data it collects from its merchants to compete against them, something the company previously advised Congress it doesn’t do.

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Bezos, the richest man in the world, will appear via videoconference due to Covid-19 alongside Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and its parent company, Alphabet. For the past year, the House antitrust subcommittee, a bipartisan group of 15 lawmakers, has been investigating tech giants to determine if they’re abusing their power. And if so, whether regulators are not adequately enforcing current antitrust laws or whether Congress needs to create new regulations on competition. The core US federal antitrust law began more than a century ago, many decades before the internet set the groundwork for a few industry titans to amass unprecedented power.

Jeff Bezos on the cover of Forbes magazine

Amazon has gained more business and labor power during the pandemic as brick-and-mortar shops either temporarily or permanently close their doors, and more shoppers take their shopping dollars online.

Bezos has said in the past that all large institutions deserve scrutiny and that Amazon welcomes it.

“I say, ‘Look, we are a large corporation. We deserve to be inspected. It’s going to happen. Don’t take it personally,” Bezos said in 2018. “Because when you take it personally, you start to do things that are counterproductive.’”

“There’s only one way to handle it,” he added, “and that is that we have to conduct ourselves in such a way that when we are scrutinized, we pass with flying colors.”

On Wednesday, Bezos will get his opportunity to do just that.

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