Wednesday, December 23, 2020

"How Amazon Wins: By Steamrolling Rivals and Partners" (AMZN: EVIL)

A lot of this is exactly what Facebook has done, which can be summed up in the term: restraint of trade.

 From the Wall Street Journal. December 22:

CEO Jeff Bezos still runs the e-commerce giant with the drive of a startup trying to survive, and that strand of its corporate DNA is becoming a liability

Jeff Bezos built Inc. from his garage with an underdog’s ambition to take on the establishment. He imbued staff with an obsession to grow fast by grabbing customers using the biggest selection and lowest prices. Today, he has more than 1.1 million employees and a market valuation around $1.6 trillion. 
But Amazon never really grew up. Mr. Bezos still runs it with the drive of a startup trying to survive.
That ethos helps keep Amazon booming. Aggressive competition—including wresting market share from rivals—is often a hallmark of a successful business. It’s also why the tech-and-retail giant is the target of rivals, regulators and politicians who say its tactics are unfair for a company its size, and potentially illegal. As the company has grown, so has its capacity to take on an ever-growing array of competitors.
To keep customers happy, which Mr. Bezos has long said is Amazon’s fixation and growth strategy, executives behind the scenes have methodically waged targeted campaigns against rivals and partners alike—an approach that has changed little through the years, from diapers to footwear.
No competitor is too small to draw Amazon’s sights. It cloned a line of camera tripods that a small outside company sold on Amazon’s site, hurting the vendor’s sales so badly it is now a fraction of its original size, the little firm’s owner said. Amazon said it didn’t violate the company’s intellectual-property rights. 
When Amazon decided to compete with furniture retailer Wayfair Inc., Mr. Bezos’s deputies created what they called the Wayfair Parity Team, which studied how Wayfair procured, sold and delivered bulky furniture, eventually replicating a majority of its offerings, said people who worked on the team. Amazon and Wayfair declined to comment on the matter. 
Amazon set its sights on Allbirds Inc., the maker of popular shoes using natural and recycled materials, and last year launched a shoe called Galen that looks nearly identical to Allbirds’ bestseller—without the environmentally friendly materials and selling for less than half the price. 
“You can’t help but look at a trillion-dollar company putting their muscle and their pockets and their machinations of their algorithms and reviewers and private-label machine all behind something that you’ve put your career against,” said Allbirds Co-CEO Joey Zwillinger. “You have this giant machine creating all these headwinds for us.” 
An Amazon spokesman said the company’s shoe didn’t infringe on Allbirds’ design, adding that the company has previously said: “Offering products inspired by the trends to which customers are responding is a common practice across the retail industry.” ....


Previously: August 2019's
Facebook Antitrust: Restraint of Trade (FB)
We've mentioned a few times that Google and in particular Facebook are susceptible to old-school antitrust analysis because of their use of the John D. Rockefeller "Buy 'em, Copy 'em, or Crush 'em" approach to competition....

And July 2019's:

The symbols in the headline are in rank order of probable exposure to old-school antitrust sanctions. Twitter if it were included would appear in the middle.
Facebook and Google have an especially egregious pattern of acquiring, crushing or copying nascent competition, the type of behavior most amenable to classical antitrust analysis. See: