Jeff Bezos steps down: the press takes stock

After 27 years at the helm of Amazon, the founder of the e-commerce giant Jeff Bezos handed over the reins to its new CEO Andy Jassy this week. Bezos will continue to hold considerable sway as the company's executive chairman but wants to devote more time to his various foundations and will be flying into space on 20 July. Europe's press looks back on a success story marked by innovative zeal and ruthlessness.

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Zeit Online (DE) /

Success with dark sides

Zeit Online draws mixed conclusions about Bezos' business legacy so far:

“Amazon truly made customer satisfaction its highest principle - in contrast to countless other companies who make that claim. Bezos accepted losses for many years to achieve this goal. Of course, someone often had to pay the price when something became incredibly cheap for these customers. Same day deliveries for next to nothing? The time pressure forced many a deliveryman to urinate in a bottle. Pricing pressure exerted by Amazon's market might? Many a small dealer went under. Competitors? Bought out or driven out.”

Polityka (PL) /

The masses love him

Bezos has helped more people than he has harmed, Polityka concludes:

“The growing inequalities in the system he created are not conducive to a healthy democracy, but that's another topic. Jeff Bezos simply makes millions of people happy by making shopping cheap and giving them easy access to their heart's desires. On 20 July these millions will wish him a successful return to earth.”

De Tijd (BE) /

We need a force to counter big tech

De Tijd praises Bezos' entrepreneurial spirit but calls for more limits on future rapid-growth companies like Amazon:

“Amazon is one of the biggest employers in the US, but trade unions are not welcome. Bezos is one of the richest people in the world, but he hardly pays any taxes. A key reason for Amazon's expansive growth was that nations put up few or no hurdles in the company's path. ... But a counter-movement is now starting to emerge. There is a growing realisation that big tech has become too big and too powerful, and that in addition to the advantages it offers consumers, there are also major disadvantages. ... The economy and the world thrive on committed and visionary entrepreneurs like Bezos. But a force needs a counter-force in order to achieve a healthy equilibrium.”

Webcafé (BG) /

Off to the moon

Now that he's shuffled off his earthly coil, Bezos is free to expand into the universe at last, Webcafé gibes:

“A space walk will certainly not satiate the Bezos appetite. To show that this world has become too small for him, he will soon start building Amazon warehouses on the moon, where he can send half of his tortured staff to convey intergalactic packages. The workers will not only have no right to toilet breaks, they will not be able to leave the moon at all. From his moon station Bezos can use his money to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. ... Hey, Alexa, say hi to the little green men.”