Amazon’s powerful weapon for sharing small business user data

The illustration of the article titled Amazon puts small businesses at risk of retaliation if they do not provide user data.>

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Amazon has reportedly pressured smart-thermostat maker EcoBy to fork data from its voice-enabled devices despite consumers not actively using it. When Ecobi pushed back, the e-commerce giant threatened to box up the company, excluding high-profile sales events such as Prime Day or rejecting Alexa certifications for future devices. The Wall Street Journal Reported this week.

Last year, Amazon approached EcoBee, among other Alexa-enabled device vendors, about sharing “practical state” data from customers, several company executive journals confirmed. With this data, Amazon will always receive updates on the status of the device, even when customers are not using it, such as their home temperature or not keeping their doors locked, among other examples.

Ecobi was hesitant at first. Since its smart thermostats have the support of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, it has already shared some user data with the company, but Ecobi feared that the new demand could be a further step and violate customer privacy, a source familiar with the matter told the Journal. Interview. Amazon also has a documented history of this Cloning is a successful product To sell under the in-house brand, Ecobi is rightly concerned that sharing this information would be tantamount to handing over a blueprint to Amazon to develop its own competitive products.

However, when EcoBee initially refused to provide users with practical state data, Amazon warned that the denial could prevent the company from receiving Alexa certifications at large sales events such as Prime Day or its future devices, a spokesman for the journal said. . Given that Amazon controls a large part of the global e-commerce market (About 40% In the United States alone), this kind of move Small companies like Ecobi can go bankrupt.

Amazon spokesman Jack Evans told the outlet that Amazon uses pragmatic state data to make better offers to customers and that customers agree to share this data when linking their accounts. Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Gizmodo, but we will make sure to update this blog when they do.

EcoBay spokesman Andy Weissman said in a statement to the Journal that discussions were ongoing and that “Amazon is still a valuable EcoBe partner.”

If true, this is just the latest example of what Amazon has done in the whole mafia pattern to gain dominance in its industry in order to strengthen its industry partners. We’ve seen it before HBO is the highestIt took Amazon to its Fire TVs after the company agreed to host the streaming service on Amazon’s Prime video channels for a year and to extend a lucrative deal with its cloud-computing arm Amazon Web Services. In addition Stolen design According to the journal, Amazon from other companies for the Basic line pressured the industry partner to use its logistical arm, Filimilment, threatening to make it more difficult to sell products in the market, according to the journal. Amazon is even known to compete with companies It investsIn which EcoBee uses its position as a partner to access confidential information and develop similar products.

Last October, a House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee In conclusion What we already know: Amazon and other technologists have “exclusive power” in their respective markets and “abuse their power by charging extra fees, imposing oppressive terms and extracting valuable data from people who depend on them.”

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