|Fri Jan 17 2020 23:00:04|
Seller Denounces Amazon Market Power in Antitrust Hearing
By: Ina Steiner
An online seller was invited to speak at a Congressional subcommittee antitrust hearing on "online platforms and market power" in Colorado on Friday.
The CEO of PopSockets David Barnett testified that he felt Amazon engaged in "bullying with a smile" to pressure him to lower his prices on its marketplace, but that no other marketplace could generate as many sales, according to CNBC coverage
of the hearing.
Congressman David Cicilline led off the hearing with a scathing statement against big tech platforms and said companies large and small found themselves "one algorithm tweak away from ruin," according to Reuters reporter Nandita Bose
An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that it sought to continue working with PopSockets and said the retailer was free to stop selling directly through Amazon, though it continued to work with PopSockets to address shared concerns.
But Barnett disputed Amazon's argument that there are comparable marketplaces: "We sell on the Walmart platform, sales are 1/38th of the sales we had on Amazon when we had a relationship, and Target, it's even less. These are small fractions."
In the Washington Post coverage
of this morning's hearing, it reported on the other witnesses who described what it was like to compete against giant tech platforms Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple - or, "powerful gatekeepers," as Rep. Cicilline called them.