Must we question our love for Amazon?

I like Amazon. I am an Amazon Prime customer. I try to buy locally, but Amazon repeatedly makes shopping easy, ever closing the gap between desire (I need size 8 running shoes) to purchase (it’s midnight) to delivery (two days, it’s here).

Must I be reminded of Amazon’s bullying side, its willingness to use the reach of its giant marketplace (read consumers) to keep out competitors? I really don’t want to. Because then, I would have to start feeling a little sheepish about using Amazon.

But the company almost can’t seem to help itself. The latest: Amazon is discontinuing sales of rival firms’ media players by Google (Chromecast) and Apple (Apple TV), as Matt O’Brien wrote in the Mercury News Friday.

Amazon sells its own Internet-connected TV hardware, its own Fire TV devices, and said it would continue selling “excellent choices” such as its own, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Roku devices.

Amazon’s argument is that the ban, which takes effect on Oct. 29, is meant to “avoid customer confusion.” The confusion, in its view, is that some media players do not work as well with Amazon Prime video service.

The issue, as Matt writes, could be about something else entirely — Amazon is competing with Apple and Google on providing its own streaming content.

Or is it about trying to convert more Amazon customers into Amazon Prime customers by using access to content as the carrot, as Michael Hiltizk of the Los Angeles Times, suggests.

Whatever. As a consumer who expects Amazon to be what it says it strives to be, I’m irked. The long-running battle last year with Hachette, in which the company made it harder for consumers to buy certain authors, showed Amazon’s willingness to use consumers as leverage in a fight with a publisher, as I wrote about.

But the e-commerce giant was in a contract dispute with Hachette, not competing with it over the same audience. In this case, there is a possibility that it is using its marketplace — again read, customers — as a leverage again in negotiations with Apple and Google to make Amazon Prime Video available via their hardware.

No one has ever doubted Amazon’s ambition. But what should be questioned is its commitment to its mission statement:

Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

The boldface is mine. I hope that Amazon can find its way back.

Above: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

 

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  • Michael Beatty

    So when is Google going to stop listing Amazon products in its search results?

    • marcatdisqus

      They should but something tells me google won’t do that. Their do no evil mantra they may try to stick to as opposed to amazon breaching their pledge noted in the article to sell anything.

      If Amazon is the dominant online retailer at what point would the FTC come in and start their antitrust witch hunt against them as they have with google and others? Not selling competitor products like this is akin to the fire apple would be under if they did not allow competitor apps on their iphone.

  • It’s hard for me to stop buying from Amazon, too. I’m a big fan of buying books from local bookstores, but the price savings when buying from Amazon could easily let me buy two books instead of just one. I tried to stop buying from Amazon upon reading some of their workplace-related articles back in July, but just a couple weeks ago I ended up buying a mouse from Amazon because it wasn’t available anywhere else.

    I find Amazon’s treatment of its workers unconscionable and will try my best not to buy from them in the future, but sometimes it really is a lost cause.

 
 
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