Jeff Bezos is quizzed on whether Amazon designated its OWN products but not its competition as ‘essential’ deliveries during pandemic
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pushed back at a line of questioning that suggested the company had prioritized shipping of its own products during the pandemic
- Early on, Amazon was trying to only ship ‘essential’ items in order to keep customers stocked up and fewer employees on the floor
- Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat, asked Bezos if items like Amazon’s Echo or Fire TV were considered ‘essential’
- Bezos replied that he didn’t know and argued, ‘there was no playbook for this. We moved very quickly’
- While he said Amazon likely didn’t handle the classification of ‘essential’ items perfectly he denied there was a profit motive to move their own stuff first
- Bezos was joined by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook for a five-plus hour hearing before a Judiciary subcommittee
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pushed back at a line of questioning that suggested the company had prioritized shipping their own products as ‘essential’ items during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bezos was being quizzed by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat, about whether products like Fire TV, or Amazon’s Echo speaker or the Ring doorbell were designated as essential.
‘I don’t know the answer to that question,’ said Bezos at Wednesday’s House Judiciary subcommittee hearing. ‘What I can tell you is we had – there was no playbook for this.’
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pushed back at a line of questioning at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing that probed whether Amazon designated its own products as ‘essential’ during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat, asked Bezos if products like Amazon’s Echo and Fire Stick were considered ‘essential’ versus similar products sold on Amazon by competitors. Bezos said he wasn’t sure, adding that there was ‘no playbook’ for the pandemic
‘We moved very quickly. Demand went through the roof. It was like holiday-selling season, but in March and we had to make a lot of decisions very rapidly,’ the tech CEO offered.
Scanlon asked how much thought went into Amazon’s profits when items were being deemed ‘essential.’
She also pointed to news reports that quoted Amazon employees who said they were still sending out more everyday objects like pool floats – not just the masks, sanitizer and cleaning supplies that Americans were trying to get their hands on.
‘Our goal was to limit it to essential supplies, but I’m sure we did not do that perfectly,’ Bezos answered.
He also denied that company was looking at its profits.
‘We were working to achieve two objectives: one was to get essential products to customers and the seonc was to get our frontline employees safe,’ Bezos tesified.
‘We were not focused on profitability at that time,’ he added.
Bezos was joined by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai, who all appeared before the Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law for a hearing that extended beyond five hours.
It was the first time the richest man in the world appeared at a hearing before Congress.
Bezos, like the other tech giants, all appeared virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.