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Nearly a month after Amazon initiated investigations into accusations that claimed that its legal representatives bribed government officials, a Reuters report has revealed that Amazon had been copying items sold by third-party sellers and manipulating the search results to promote its products in India.

The report reviewed thousands of internal Amazon documents and discovered the same. According to the documents, the aim was to identify top products and then replicate them, and Amazon did just that. A 2016 document titled “India Private Brands Program” reveales that Amazon’s private labels team in India used internal data (like sales and customer review data) collected from Amazon, identified “reference brands,” created copies of the popular products, and later manipulated search results to prioritize Amazon’s product lines over others.

This strategy was called “Solimo,” and high-ranking Amazon executives, including Diego Piacentini, who previously led the company’s international business, and Russell Grandinetti, senior VP of international consumer, were aware of it.

But wait, that is not all. The document further highlighted that Amazon employees who had been working on the company’s own products planned to partner with the manufacturers of the products targeted for copying, since the manufacturers are known to employ “unique processes which impact the end quality of the product.”

After this was made public, US Senator Elizabeth Warren called for the breaking up of Amazon while Indian retailers demanded a government probe.

ADIF, a grouping of top Indian tech companies and entrepreneurs, said in a statement sent to The Tech Portal, “These findings go on to validate the allegations and fears of various stakeholders and serve as incriminating evidence. It’s worth noting that Amazon has on multiple occasions, including during formal hearings, denied any wrongdoing that involves making use of consumer data to drive advantage for its own brands and products.

The findings bring to light that it’s a systematic design – a playbook if you will – by Amazon to predate and kill competition by weaponizing every tool at its disposal.”

Interestingly, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had earlier claimed that Amazon prohibited its employees from using data on individual sellers to help its private-label business. In 2019, another Amazon executive had also testified that the company did not use internal data to create its own private-label products or alter its search results to favor them. The documents, however, have found that the situation to be the exact opposite.

Amazon deemed that the claims were “factually incorrect and unsubstantiated,” adding that it displayed “search results based on relevance to the customer’s search query, irrespective of whether such products have private brands offered by sellers or not.”