David Barnett, a former philosophy professor and the founder and CEO of PopSockets, says his interactions with Amazon have often amounted to “bullying with a smile.” Like many companies, PopSockets, which makes a popular plastic grip that can be attached to smartphones, discovered several years ago counterfeit versions of its products available for sale on Amazon. According to Barnett, it wasn’t until PopSockets agreed to spend $2 million on retail marketing that Amazon finally clamped down on the fakes and knockoffs. Amazon denies this, and says that worked “with PopSockets to address our shared concerns about counterfeit.” But there were still other problems: Barnett says Amazon frequently lowered the price of PopSockets products, and then expected his company to make up the difference—even though that was never part of their contract. Amazon would “dress up requests as demands, using language that a parent uses with a child, or more generally, that someone in a position of power uses with someone of inferior power,” Barnett wrote in testimony sent to Congress. Barnett, along with executives from Basecamp, Sonos, and Tile, testified at a high-profile congressional hearing in Boulder, Colorado, Friday where they told lawmakers how the anticompetitive practices of Amazon, Google,… Read full this story
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