Amazon’s first ever employee Shel Kaphan whose work “allowed them to come into existence” said he believes the company should be broken up.
Kaphan, who joined the retailer when it was founded in 1994 as its chief technology officer, said that the online behemoth he helped to build now “scares” him.
Speaking to reporters during a PBS Frontline special called Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos earlier this week, Kaphan went on to say he felt the retailer’s massive influence over small businesses ability to thrive online mean it should be broken up by US antitrust enforcers.
“I built a substantial part of the early system that allowed them to come into existence, so I feel responsibility because of that,” he said.
“On one hand, I’m proud what it became, but it also scares me
“I think the characterization of Amazon as a ruthless competitor is true. Under the flag of customer obsession they can do a lot of things which might not be good for people who aren’t their customers.”
The idea of breaking Amazon up has been touted by key US politicians including Elizabeth Warren for some time and reflects growing calls for the dominant US tech companies like Facebook and Google to be more heavily regulated across the globe.
Amazon’s chief executive of consumer business Jeff Wilke was also interviewed during the programme, arguing that although any big company deserves scrutiny Amazon has “intense competition” in each of the markets it operates.
An Amazon spokesperson responded to the interview stating: “Amazon’s retail business competes in the worldwide market for retail sales. Our competitors include all the other online and brick and mortar stores that people shop at every day.”
They added that Amazon accounts for less than one per cent of global retail sales and less than four per cent of US retail sales.