WASHINGTON – Of all the tech fans who rallied in front of Congress Wednesday to defend their business practices, perhaps the most anticipated appearance was that of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
But as lawmakers scolded the heads of Google, Apple and Facebook about how patriotic they feel and whether they stole restaurant reviews from smaller websites, the richest man in the world was generally ignored for the first two hours.
Seen through the video link as it stands today in light of the pandemic, Bezos can be seen smoothly snacking and drinking what appeared to be a cup of coffee from his tiny screen on the Zoom call.
Damaged politicians watching the antitrust hearing complained that lawmakers had not asked a single question to the founder of Amazon and it was not until about two hours into that Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) Who started investigating the $ 180 billion man.
“Jeff Bezos, sitting there didn’t do anything, he only made $ 300 million 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,” sang Lauren Goode of WIRED.
There was inevitable speculation as to 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 buying the Washington Post in 2013.
“They all want to invite us to the hottest parties in a DC (low bar) hosted by a rich man in the world amidst every mother of every half-life crisis,” suggested NYU market professor Scott Galloway.
“Either Bezos is taking a bed and Amazon has done a really good job of lobbying before this with their DC army,” added Emily Chang of Bloomberg.
But the 56-year-old tech mogul finally managed to find his time when Jayapal started chatting about whether Amazon used data from sellers on its website to launch competing products.
Bezos, Zuckerberg, Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook faced some congressional grid over allegations that their companies had become too powerful and were engaged in behavior designed to remind their competitors.
At one point, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused the technology giants of also trying to silence conservative views, citing a series of examples, including the restriction of the president’s tweets.