Searching for a reason

We all do that at times, we all search for a reason. Whether it is for a solution, to blame or to incite. These are the most likely reasons, but they are not the only ones. The thought came to mind when the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58961836) gave me ‘Amazon’s Jeff Bezos ‘may have lied to Congress’’ a stage where ‘may’ is operative. So there is not even any level of assurance that he ‘had most likely’ lied, that on the premise it was highly likely that he was not truthful, or any other stage of ‘creating doubt towards sincerity’. We are also given the claims that “Amazon copied products and rigged its search results in India to boost sales of its own brands”, as well as “sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question” and in finality we get “they were considering referring the firm “for criminal investigation””, so in the third, what ‘criminal investigation’? For allegedly rigging results in India? For inaccurate media articles? It is an open field and in all this, we need to consider that US congress is merely trying to get fines from rich companies any way they can get, it is what incompetent people tend to do, play the blame game. 

Yet to understand it we need to take a look at the Reuters article (at https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/amazon-india-rigging) where we get ‘Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show’. Here we are given “The internal documents also show that Amazon employees studied proprietary data about other brands on Amazon.in, including detailed information about customer returns” this is indeed a solid accusation. In addition we get “It is difficult to develop this expertise across products and hence, to ensure that we are able to fully match quality with our reference product, we decided to only partner with the manufacturers of our reference product”, it is quite the accusation, yet this happened in 2016. So in the first, why is this not in Indian courts? In the second, why do we see a bland US Congress setting when it is not an activity on American soil? It was Amazon.in, it was in India and referred to Indian products. In addition we get the small part at the very end of “In sworn testimony before the U.S. Congress in 2020, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos explained that the e-commerce giant prohibits its employees from using the data on individual sellers to help its private-label business. And, in 2019, another Amazon executive testified that the company does not use such data to create its own private-label products or alter its search results to favour them” I see it as two parts, in 2019 there is a stage of “Amazon executive testified that the company does not use such data to create its own private-label products or alter its search results to favour them” which would support the stage of wrongful action mentioned earlier, and in 2020 we get “prohibits its employees from using the data on individual sellers to help its private-label business”, as such a stage optionally exists that a flaw was found and dealt with. Optionally there remains a stage that in 2016 “Amazon employees working on the company’s own products, known as private brands or private labels, planned to partner with the manufacturers of the products targeted for copying”, so a stage remains that Indian employees became creative to create their own private fortune in debatable ways, a stage that was close over time and there Reuters has a larger issue. The documents, what EXACTLY do they prove? I am not against Reuters here, they have proven themselves a few times over, so I am asking exactly what internal documents were in play? If they were emails and there the language and the path is also important. Reuters might be on the money, but they start with “A trove of internal Amazon documents reveals how the e-commerce giant ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoff goods” and there we see the assumption it is linking ‘internal Amazon documents’ towards ‘the e-commerce giant’, yet these employees, how high up the ladder were they, were they all Indian? In that case can a quality case based on quantifiable data be made against the e-commerce giant, or is this the event involving a few rotten apples (sorry, rotten pieces of fruit). So when we see the questions that rise from the Reuters article, the US Congress made leaps without investigating the evidence before referring it for Criminal investigation. You see, there needs to be a viable case before referring it, so there needs to be decent questionable evidence and so far, no one has seen it and I reckon it might not be there in the way the BBC article gives us the goods. I think there is a lot more and in all this, when we see “sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question”, we could have seen evidence and more importantly the media can show the evidence that it was wrongful data handed to them, but we do not see that either (at present), the media is very protective of one another at the alleged expense of anyone else. 

Can Amazon have done something wrong? Yes, absolutely, the firm is too big, things fall through the cracks. Yet the chance of Jeff with the Telly Savalas hairdo Bezos, or Nate Sutton, Amazon’s associate general counsel to openly lie to Judiciary Committee is too ludicrous to consider. That is the stage and when I see “We strongly encourage you to make use of this opportunity to correct the record… as we consider whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate,” I feel that this is an attempt to get another fine out of Amazon. Yes, I agree that the letter is merely good form, but I reckon that the players would have done a decent level of homework before that letter went out, and with another shutdown 9 weeks away, America needs all the cash they can lay their fingers on, I am merely wondering if their path is all on the up and up. But that is merely me, questioning whatever I see. I merely wonder if anyone else noticed the questions that the article brings up, it might be my not so trusting nature.

If Amazon did something wrong, OK. It happens and a fine will be the result, but this happened in India, so why is there no reference to a request from India, a request from Indian vendors and a more thorough investigation into the evidence. All that seems to be missing, weird, is it not?

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Filed under Finance, IT, Politics

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