WASHINGTON — Of all the tech tycoons hauled before Congress on Wednesday to defend their business practices, perhaps the most anticipated appearance was that from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
But as lawmakers roasted the heads of Google, Apple and Facebook over how patriotic they felt and whether they had stolen restaurant reviews from smaller websites, the world’s richest man went largely ignored for the first two hours.
Appearing via video link as is now custom amid the pandemic, Bezos could be seen nonchalantly snacking and drinking what appeared to be a cup of coffee from his tiny screen on the Zoom call.
Political pundits watching the antitrust hearing complained that lawmakers hadn’t asked the Amazon founder a single question and it wasn’t until about two hours in that Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) began probing the $180 billion man.
“Jeff Bezos, sitting there doing nothing, just made maybe 300 million dollars or so,” tweeted Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times.
“Jeff Bezos will probably receive a Prime delivery in the time it takes for representatives to ask him a question,” joked Lauren Goode of WIRED.
There was inevitable speculation about why members of Congress were more focused on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Google’s Sundar Pichai than Bezos, who now owns a $23 million DC mansion after purchasing the Washington Post in 2013.
“They all want invites to coolest parties in DC (low bar) hosted by wealthiest man in world in midst of mother of all mid-life crises,” suggested NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway.
“Either Bezos is taking a nap or Amazon did a really good job lobbying ahead of this with their DC army,” added Bloomberg’s Emily Chang.
But the tech tycoon, 56, finally got his time in the spotlight when Jayapal began quizzing him on whether Amazon used data from sellers on its website to launch competing products.
Bezos, Zuckerberg, Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook faced a congressional grilling over allegations their companies had become too powerful and they were engaged in behavior designed to to cripple their competitors.
At one point, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused the tech giants of also trying to silence conservative views, rattling off a series of examples, including the restricting of the president’s tweets.
Source: Newzandar News
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