Sat, Sep 15, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Bezos not worried about tougher scrutiny, he says

AFP, WASHINGTON

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at the Economic Club of Washington DC’s “Milestone Celebration Dinner” in Washington on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Amazon.com Inc founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos on Thursday said that he was not worried about the potential for anti-trust scrutiny of the company as it becomes an important economic force.

Bezos told a Washington business gathering that it is normal to draw scrutiny, but he does not anticipate any actions that would prevent the Internet giant from innovating and growing.

“We are so inventive that whatever regulations are promulgated, that will not stop us from serving customers,” Bezos said in a question-and-answer session at a dinner hosted by the Economic Club of Washington.

“Customers are still going to want low prices. They’re still going to want fast delivery. They’re still going to want a big selection,” he said.

Bezos said it was unsurprising and even normal to face questions when a company becomes as big as Amazon.

“All big institutions of any kind are going to be and should be examined, scrutinized and inspected,” he said. “We want to live in a society where people are worried about big institutions. That’s OK.”

However, Bezos said that he did not see Amazon — which briefly hit US$1 trillion in market value — as a monopoly, arguing that online sales still represent a small fraction of overall retail.

“Eighty-five percent of sales is still in the physical world. So that’s where we face competition,” Bezos said.

His comments came as US regulators opened hearings on whether to revamp anti-trust enforcement to consider the dominance of digital giants such as Google, Facebook Inc and Amazon.

Earlier on Thursday, Bezos announced he was launching a philanthropic fund with a US$2 billion initial commitment to help homeless families and launch preschools in low-income communities.

Grants are to be given to organizations “doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the needs of young families,” Bezos said.

The fund will also seek to launch and operate “a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities,” he wrote. “We will build an organization to directly operate these schools.”

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