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Amazon’s scorched-earth campaign: Why the Internet giant started a war -

Amazon s scorched earth campaign Why the Internet giant started a war Salon com

On May 10, the New York Times reported that, as part of an effort to negotiate better contractual terms from Hachette, Amazon had been for months making it difficult for Amazon users to purchase books by Hachette writers. Books that normally would be delivered in two or three days now required two or three weeks. Banner advertisements on author pages added insult to injury by promoting “similar books for lower prices.” Hachette authors exploded in criticism, and even some longtime defenders of the company, like the New York Times technology columnist Farhad Manjoo, called the behavior an “ugly spectacle to behold.”

But so far, Amazon hasn’t backed down, and that’s nothing short of amazing — not to mention troubling.

Amazon has historically been extraordinarily sensitive to bad press, lest it run the risk of encouraging consumers of its services to think twice about the online giant. Everything Jeff Bezos does, so the story goes, puts the consumer front and center. So when Amazon says – as it did in a press release this week detailing its side of the business dispute with Hachette — that “we regret the inconvenience,” we’re suddenly in new, uncharted, alien territory.


Stashed in: Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Colbert, @gladwell

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The company’s enormous self-confidence comes through even clearer at the conclusion of its press release, in the form of a link to an opinion piece that Amazon says “offers a wider perspective” on the issue. The blog post, written by the co-founder of a small literary publisher, attacks the New York Times reporters who broke the story for their “alarmist zeal,” calling their article “poppycock” and dismissing the public reaction as a “kerfuffle of rage.”

Think about that for a second. To convey its opinion more fully, Amazon directed readers to wildly biased rant. Tell us how you really feel, Jeff Bezos!

I'm beginning to think he doesn't have the world's best interests at heart.

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