On Monday, Amazon announced that its founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos was willing to testify to a congressional panel investigating potential violations of US antitrust law by big technology companies.
The company’s attorney sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee, saying Amazon had cooperated with the probe. “This includes making Jeff Bezos available to testify at a hearing with the other CEOs this summer,” said the letter from Robert Kelner of Covington and Burling LLP.
Alphabet’s Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook – are under investigation by a House Judiciary Committee panel and the US Justice Department. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is probing Amazon and Facebook and US state attorneys general are looking at Facebook and Google.
Representative David Cicilline, chair of the committee’s antitrust panel, said testimony from the CEOs was “essential to complete this bipartisan investigation into the state of competition in the digital marketplace.”
He said in a statement that “The Antitrust Subcommittee will continue to use the tools at our disposal to ensure we gather whatever information is necessary.”
Kelner’s letter said that Amazon and the committee would need to “resolve a number of questions regarding timing, format, and outstanding document production issues, all necessarily framed by the extraordinary demands of the global pandemic.”
According to a source familiar with the company, this would be the first time that Bezos has appeared before Congress.
The committee in early May demanded Bezos’ testimony in the wake of a report that the online retailer uses data from third-party sellers to create competing products.
Nate Sutton, Amazon’s associate general counsel, had refused under oath last July that Amazon used sensitive information from independent sellers to develop Amazon products.
The letter also noted that Amazon had given the committee’s antitrust panel more than 225,000 pages of documents and notes that the committee has not given a “binding commitment” that they would be confidential.