Who knew that Amazon has always been about annihilating competition on advantages ranging from not needing to turn a profit in the early days, to being too big not to succeed these days, with retail and in particular, the cloud service (AWS)?
Pretty much everybody with an eye on the tech world, it’s safe to say – but here we have the Wall Street Journal who seem to be just learning about it.
The report is not badly timed, either, as Big Tech companies are due to face Congressional hearings by the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on Wednesday.
The point of the hearing is for US Congress to establish if there is evidence that these companies – Google and Apple, beside Amazon – have indeed monopolized digital marketplaces.
But the real question may be – when have they not? – except in the very early years of their existence.
Yet, since that question is not one to be answered any time soon, let’s look at the “evidence” the WSJ has compiled against Amazon here.
This true giant is said to be gaining access to (much) smaller competitors and startups by investing, and then basically abusing access to their IP to launch its own product serving the same market.
This is not just the WSJ rehashing a flimsy plot out of the HBO show “Silicon Valley” – it’s an actual real world claim made against Amazon by DefinedCrowd Corp., whose business is “artificial intelligence” and who now claim to have been pretty much robbed blind by the giant who launched a “direct competitor, A2I” – allegedly thanks to abusing its investor role.
The report says this accusation is not the only one. There are dozens of others, made by “investors and deal advisers interviewed by the Wall Street Journal who said Amazon appeared to use the investment and deal-making process to help develop competing products.”
The report goes into detailing some of these – including how Ubi voice assistant device owners met with Amazon representatives to disclose some proprietary information, seemingly in the hope of achieving the ultimate goal of any “innovative startup” – getting acquired.
This never happened, however, and Amazon went ahead with a competing product, Echo.
But the WSJ report is careful to never actually make any outright claim of Amazon’s unethical or illegal practices.