During the hour-long meeting, Jeff Bezos and Amazon executives used a series of statistics to defend the company’s business practices and contributions to the community — addressing questions from a number of vocal shareholders aligned with a group protesting the company’s labor practices, political activities and tax record.
Bezos appeared to take the tension in stride, redirecting many of the questions to Amazon executives in attendance for detailed answers.
The mood highlighted the increasing scrutiny of Amazon as it expands its business further beyond its traditional role as an online retailer of physical goods, becoming a bigger player in the tech industry and corporate America.
Bezos highlighted that trend during the meeting, pointing out that nine of the top 10 selling item on Amazon are now digital goods or platforms, including the company’s Kindle e-readers and e-books.
Amazon said during the meeting that it plans to drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, one of the issues that had been targeted by protesters gathering outside the meeting at the Seattle Art Museum.
Toward the end of the meeting, some shareholders praised Amazon, including one who urged Amazon to continue investing in its Kindle e-reader platform, saying it has changed his life.
“Count on that,” Bezos said.
See our earlier post for detailed notes from the meeting.