Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: Big Businesses Should Be Scrutinized, Not Vilified

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: Big Businesses Should Be Scrutinized, Not Vilified

WASHINGTON—Jeff Bezos, going through political backlash over Amazon.com Inc.’s rising market dominance, mentioned Thursday that whereas large firms need to be scrutinized, politicians shouldn’t “vilify” them.

Mr. Bezos, Amazon’s boss and the world’s wealthiest particular person, addressed the antitrust issues in a wide-ranging and rare public interview hosted by the Economic Club in Washington, D.C.

Interviewed by the membership’s president,

Carlyle Group

co-founder David Rubenstein, Mr. Bezos additionally mentioned his new charitable commitments, defended the media and his buy of the Washington Post, and disillusioned the D.C.-connected viewers by declining to disclose a successful metropolis for Amazon’s second headquarters.

He additionally stopped wanting taking jabs at his most vocal critic, President Trump, who has blasted Mr. Bezos and Amazon over its use of the U.S. Postal Service, gross sales tax and widening affect.

Roughly 1,400 individuals, together with almost 20 ambassadors, the governor of Maryland and the U.S. Postmaster General, crowded into the identical ballroom used to host the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in the midst of the town to listen to the Amazon chief government converse.

Amazon’s sheer measurement and market dominance has made it a popular company goal of politicians on the left and proper, who’ve criticized the corporate over the way in which it treats its staff and pays taxes, in addition to its affect on the broader economic system as some conventional retailers wrestle.

“All big institutions of any kind will be and should be scrutinized,” Mr. Bezos mentioned. “It’s not personal. It’s kind of what we want to have as a society happen.”

The identical scrutiny ought to apply to U.S. presidents, Mr. Bezos mentioned, with out naming Mr. Trump. Mr. Bezos mentioned it is necessary for politicians to not vilify large companies since they will create a lot worth.

“There are certain things that only big companies can do,” Mr. Bezos mentioned. “Nobody in their garage is going to build an all-fiber fuel-efficient Boeing 787.”

Asked about Mr. Trump’s current tweets vital of Amazon, Mr. Bezos mentioned he doesn’t must defend his firm, however would defend the Washington Post.

“It is a mistake for any elected official to attack the media and journalists,” he mentioned. “It is dangerous to demonize the media.”

He added that he has had a few conversations with the president, however desires to maintain them non-public.

As Amazon searches for a location for its new headquarters—dubbed HQ2—cities throughout the nation have been making an attempt to woo the tech large. At stake: 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investments.

Amazon desires to ship all the things you wish to the doorstep, anyplace on this planet. But the e-commerce large faces a number of challenges in its pursuit of a world empire. WSJ’s Karan Deep Singh breaks down the fundamentals with the assistance of an Amazon supply field.

Early within the interview, the group booed when Mr. Bezos refused to disclose the winner of HQ2, the corporate’s second headquarters that Amazon mentioned will carry a $5 billion funding and 50,000 jobs. The D.C. rumor mill swirled this week amid a regularly-planned out-of-town board assembly and a number of scheduled appearances by Mr. Bezos.

“We will announce a decision before the end of the year,” Mr. Bezos mentioned in one of many first public updates on the method because the firm announced its finalist list in January. “We’ve made tremendous progress. The team is working their butts off on it and we will get there.”

The want for a second headquarters comes as Amazon lately grew to become the second U.S. firm after

Apple
Inc.

to cross the $1 trillion mark. Mr. Bezos final 12 months surpassed Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates to grow to be the wealthiest man in the world, largely due to his 16% stake within the firm.

Mr. Bezos drew laughs with a joke about his wealth, saying he bumped into Mr. Gates lately and the subject of world’s richest man got here up. “I said, ‘You’re welcome,’ and he immediately turned to me and said, ‘Thank you.’”

“I’ve never sought that title,” Mr. Bezos mentioned. “And it was fine being the second wealthiest person in the world. That worked fine.”

Earlier within the day, Mr. Bezos introduced in a tweet that he deliberate to commit an preliminary $2 billion to fund a brand new charitable group to assist the homeless and educate preschoolers. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates his present web worth at roughly $164 billion.

Write to Laura Stevens at [email protected]

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