Monday, February 8, 2021

What Jeff Bezos Hath Wrought

It's Moe Tkacik, who I once had a long Twitter convo with, back in the day. She's actually kinda hot, although maybe those old MySpace photos still swirling around online might not be that flattering.

In any case, kudos for her for scoring an opinion piece at NYT, as that leftist craphole is no doubt right up her ideological alley. That said, she did once say that she "sometimes pays attention to [Robert Stacy McCain] because he's so radical." 

In any case, see, "The Amazon founder prepares to step back just as Washington turns up the heat on the mega-retailer and cloud company:

If I had to guess who inspired Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, to kick himself upstairs and appoint Andy Jassy, a deputy, as his successor as chief executive, I might wager that at least part of the blame can be laid on Lucy McBath, the freshman Georgia congresswoman, and her understated grilling of one of the world’s richest men at a July hearing held by the House antitrust subcommittee.

At the hearing, widely regarded as a watershed moment for America’s tech giants, most of the subcommittee members — and all the Democrats — had coalesced around a consensus: The business models of the four biggest tech companies depend on cementing and exploiting their statuses as gatekeepers to the internet, and scheming to bring down anyone who threatens their power to exact ever higher tolls on every minute we spend on the internet.

Only Mr. Bezos, however, had explicitly set out to become a ubiquitous “middleman” of all internet commerce. So most of the lawmakers pushed him to admit that he had systematically bought rivals and lost money selling goods and services below cost solely to destroy the competition, in violation of numerous federal laws that had long gone unenforced — or, as the antitrust scholar Lina Khan has put it, “charted the company’s growth by first drawing a map of antitrust laws, and then devising routes to smoothly bypass them.”

Before the hearing, Ms. McBath had shown little interest in waging class war on billionaire elites. A flight attendant who entered politics after the murder of her teenage son in a crime enabled by Florida’s infamous Stand Your Ground law, she had endorsed Mike Bloomberg in the Democratic presidential primary race. But interviews she and her staff had conducted with small business owners who sold their goods on Amazon’s platform had clearly left her in no mood to suffer fools.

During her questioning, Ms. McBath played an audio recording from a woman later described in a congressional report as a successful textbook seller who said Amazon had cut off her account 10 months earlier. “This business feeds a total of 14 people, which includes three children and one 90-year-old granny,” she said in the recording.

The report said the bookseller’s listings had been kicked off the platform with no explanation. Like virtually all successful Amazon sellers, she purchased fulfillment and storage services from the company because the algorithms would bury her listings if she fulfilled orders herself. But Amazon returned only a small portion of her inventory, continuing instead to charge her for storing it in its warehouses...

Rep. McBath is a radical Democrat who can go get screwed, for all I care. 

But it is what it is, and Moe's seemingly gotten more radical since I interacted with on Twitter a decade ago.

Besides, Amazon's never treated this blog badly, so I'm not going to gripe about a company that not only sends me money once a month, but one that also provides all kind of services that have improved my consumer life (like my own book-buying habit). 

So whatever. Bezos will still be pulling the strings at Amazon no matter who he names as the new "C.E.O."

More at that top link, FWIW.