US Sen. Warren Urges Amazon Breakup, India Retailers Want Investigation After Reuters Story

US Sen. Warren Urges Amazon Breakup, India Retailers Want Investigation After Reuters Story
  • US Democrat and Republican Attack Amazon After Reuters News
  • Indian retailers urge New Delhi to investigate Amazon
  • Reuters story showed Amazon copied products, rigged searches

NEW DELHI, Oct 14 (Reuters) – US Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for the dissolution of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Indian retailers demanded a government investigation of the company after a Reuters investigation showed the giant e-commerce had copied products and manipulated search results in India.

Reuters reportReviewing thousands of internal Amazon documents, he discovered that the US company conducted a systematic campaign of copycat creation and search result manipulation to boost its own private labels in India, one of the company’s fastest growing markets.

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

The Reuters investigation drew bipartisan criticism of Amazon from US lawmakers.

Linking to the story in Twitter and Facebook, Warren, a longtime critic of Amazon, said that “these documents show what we feared about Amazon’s monopoly power: that the company is willing and able to manipulate its platform to benefit its bottom line while hindering the small businesses and entrepreneurs “.

“This is one of the many reasons we have to break it,” he said.

Warren, a prominent Democrat, advocated for 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 pressure companies like Amazon.

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Ken Buck, a Republican on the House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee, also shared the story on social media: saying, “These documents prove that Amazon engages in anti-competitive practices, such as manipulating search results and self-preferring its own products over its competitors.”

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

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on reactions to the report.

In response to questions for Wednesday’s report, Amazon said: “We believe these claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated.” The company did not elaborate. It added that Amazon displays “search results based on relevance to the customer’s search query, regardless of whether those products have private labels offered by sellers or not.”

A man inspects trucks before they enter an Amazon storage facility outside Mumbai, India, on October 1, 2021. Photo taken on October 1, 2021. REUTERS / Francis Mascarenhas / File Photo

INDIAN RETAILERS, CONCERNED START-UP COMPANIES

In sworn testimony before the subcommittee last year, Amazon founder Bezos said the company prohibits its employees from using data about 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 favor them.

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

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

A group representing millions of traditional Indian retailers said Thursday that the country’s government should launch an investigation into Amazon.

“Amazon is causing a great disadvantage to small manufacturers. They are eating the cake that is not for them,” Praveen Khandelwal of the Confederation of Traders of India told Reuters. The group says it represents 80 million retail stores in the country.

Indian retailers say foreign e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart (WMT.N) indulge in unfair business practices that hurt smaller businesses, allegations the companies deny.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation, a non-profit organization representing some of India’s largest startups, said the practices detailed in the Reuters report were “highly deplorable,” calling into question “Amazon’s credibility as a Bona Fide Operator in India’s Startup Ecosystem “.

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

A senior official in the economic wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological father of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, urged consumers to avoid the company on Thursday.

“I call on the people of this country to #boycott Amazon,” said Ashwani Mahajan, a co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, on Twitter.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi and Steve Stecklow in London; Edited by William Mallard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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