Birkenstock CEO Accuses Amazon Of "Modern Day Piracy"

Tyler Durden's picture

President Donald Trump might’ve been on to something when he accused the Washington Post of being a “lobbyist weapon For Amazon.”

In a rambling five-page email published by WaPo, the CEO of Birkenstock USA threatened to cut off authorized retailers who sell even a “single pair” of its shoes to Amazon.com Inc., a continuation of his crusade against the online retailer, which began about a year ago when he demanded that the e-commerce powerhouse do more to ferret out fakes being sold on its platform. In the missive, CEO David Kahan blasted Amazon for soliciting Birkenstock retailers, offering to buy the company’s shoes from them for full price. Birkenstock stopped selling its shoes on Amazon earlier this year, citing a rise in counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers.

Though the paper disclosed its conflict of interest, the story was obviously intended to embarrass a business rival of WaPo owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, despite the paper’s smoothly neutral tone.

“In the email, Kahan called the entreaty a “desperate act” and a “PERSONAL AFFRONT.”

 

“Birkenstock does NOT sell [to] Amazon,” he wrote in the email to retail partners. “And it is clear that they are seeking back-channel means by which to obtain our brand.”

 

He emphasized that the German shoemaker prohibits shop owners from selling, distributing or shipping its products to resellers.

 

“I will state clearly, any authorized retailer who may do this for even a single pair will be closed FOREVER,” Kahan wrote. “I repeat, FOREVER.”

Kahan added that he is considering legal action against Amazon.com for ‘knowingly encouraging a breach of our policy.’”

Birkenstock doesn’t allow unauthorized resellers like Amazon to sell its classic cork-and-leather sandals, believing that losing control of it products risks tarnishing its brand and reputation. Kahan also noted that, by cooperating with Amazon, the company risks losing control of how and where its products are sold.

Later in the lengthy missive, Kahan claimed that Amazon’s inability to weed out fakes is tantamount to encouraging piracy.

“'This is modern-day piracy on the high seas,” Kahan said in an interview. “This is a middle finger to all brands, not just Birkenstock.”

At least one Birkenstock retailer interviewed by WaPo said he supports Kahan’s decision to cut off Amazon, saying sales of the company’s shoes have risen about 20% over the past year.

“At Martin’s Family Shoes in Gettysburg, Pa., owner John Fidler says sales of Birkenstocks are up about 20 percent this year, which he attributes at least partly to the company’s split with Amazon. He was encouraged, he said, to receive Kahan’s “ticked off” email last week.

 

‘It was great that somebody finally put Amazon in its place,” he said. “I don’t see any reason to sell there.’”

Even though Amazon declined to comment about Kahan’s email specifically, it’s clear why the firm might consider his anti-counterfeit campaign a threat to its ambitions to keep expanding. As WaPo noted, Kahan’s decision to stop cooperating with Amazon could inspire other retailers to withhold their product from the platform, as brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to survive as consumers increasingly prefer to shop online.

Amazon is fighting battles on multiple fronts as it struggles to expand: Wal-Mart recently warned trucking firms that it would drop its business if it found out they were also moving goods for Amazon. Meanwhile, its deal to purchase Whole Foods Market is in danger of being scuttled by Congressional Democrats, who are falling for the FTC to investigate the company for possible antitrust violations.

Read the letter in its entirety below:

Amazon Retailer Letter 7.20.17 by zerohedge on Scribd

 

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Croesus's picture

Good for Birkenstock! Screw Bezos, that little fucking worm.

ACP's picture

Bezos is a pirate huh?

Capture his sloop and put his head on a pike, I say!

BeanusCountus's picture

I always wonder when .Gov is going to bring an action against them for anti-competitive practices in the US. Don't believe it's true, but .Gov always has some screwy take. Would sure make things interesting.

Dsyno's picture

So the preferred footwear of liberals is turning on its own kind.

Mr. Universe's picture

Sorry, this conservative libertarian has been wearing his birkies for over 20 years now. Granted I live in Kalifornia, but wow, they are the most comfortable sandals out there and they are well made. It's one of the few times where the extra expense is really worth it.

HowdyDoody's picture

<-- the middleman's middleman.
<-- the rent-seeker's rent-seeker.

HK VP9's picture

With a red hot piece of rebar. 

yogibear's picture

time to slap Bezos with anti-trust violations.

fattail's picture

If Amazon is not an authorized Birkenstock seller, everything they sell on there is by definition a fake, and a legal violation of a patented product.  All of their knockoff inventory is worth less than zero, since it represents a legal liability.  No wonder its so desperate to break the Birkenstock retail union.

I love buying on Amazon.  But I wonder if some much of the hatred and vitriol pointed at Bezos isn't just because he is such an insufferable, sanctimonious, prick.  A guy who barely squeezes out a profit still has enough money to go and buy a newspaper, which is guaranteed to lose money.  Why?  Just so he can force his personal opinion down everyone's collective throat.  

If you really want to hurt Amazon, boycott AWS.  That is where all the real money is made.

yogibear's picture

Bezos getting into all aspects of retail.

Bypassing UPS, FedEx, USPS.

Banking not too far out, banksters.

Bezos is coming after a cut of your pie. Next, why use Chase.

HowdyDoody's picture

Then they will only accept AmazonCoin, the company scrip - sorry 'digital currency'

jeff montanye's picture

how many tons of gold does bezos have?

Vlad the Inhaler's picture

Please, all you bitches have Amazon Prime.

allgoodmen's picture

The Bezos-NSA Echo telescreen as well

HRClinton's picture

"Bezos me, Bezos me mucho" is not a Latin song about love.

It's closer to BOHICA.

lasvegaspersona's picture

if this does not turn Boulder liberals against Amazon....

MaxDemon's picture

Nope, they like what they read in the wapo too much, and besides, they like shopping on line and getting stuff delivered.  They will find a way to rationalize it.

Never One Roach's picture

It's obvious Bezos is colluding with the Russians to undermine American commerce. I demand an immediate full scale Congressional investigation. How many times did Bezos (or any of his 340,000 co-workers) meet with a Russian the past 20 years?

That's just for starters!

MarsInScorpio's picture

Never One Roach:

Your call for a congressional investigation of Bezos is absolutely brilliant, creative, satire.

Buffo!!!

East Indian's picture

He sells vodka in Amazon.com! Proof enough. 

allgoodmen's picture

"Buck Fezos" - I'm so stealing that

CCanuck's picture

Fuck Beezos twice with a chain saw!
Amazon is Shite!

Zorba&#039;s idea's picture

Boycott this CIA bitch...its patriotic

Andre's picture

Tinfoil hat time.

Given that AMZN lost money for like what - a decade? and still stayed in business.

Given its entry into almost literally EVERY aspect of retail

Given that, being on-line, it is inherently "cashless"

Given the war on cash

Given that the Amazon Cloud is somehow secure enough for CIA data...

What is the possibility this company was created by the CIA, funded theough front companies, and is being used to 

  • crush more traditional cash-friendly businesses
  • crush "main street" retail to accelerate the decline of the middle class and entrepreneurialism
  • socially engineer several attitudes, not least being acceptance of cashlessness?

Any comments?

Haitian Snackout's picture

If I'm wearing a tinfoil hat, it is only because chaff keeps raining down upon me. Of course they are fronts, WTF else could they be?

Crash Overide's picture

Tinfoil hat time.

Given that AMZN lost money for like what - a decade? and still stayed in business.

Given its entry into almost literally EVERY aspect of retail

Given that, being on-line, it is inherently "cashless"

Given the war on cash

Given that the Amazon Cloud is somehow secure enough for CIA data...

What is the possibility this company was created by the CIA, funded theough front companies, and is being used to 

  • crush more traditional cash-friendly businesses
  • crush "main street" retail to accelerate the decline of the middle class and entrepreneurialism
  • socially engineer several attitudes, not least being acceptance of cashlessness?

Any comments?

 

Yes.

downwiththebanks's picture

I wonder how much drug money they launder...

Reverend.Pajama.Pants's picture

Amazon should just do what Facebook does: report all the black money they get from fedgov as "advertising" revenue.

 

83_vf_1100_c's picture

  They are the new and improved WalMart. I need a needed a new high intensity led shop light for my workstation. Walmart? ROFL! Amazon, $32 to my door and it is highly rated. Bought a CREE led lightbar for my ztr mower at Amazon a few weeks back for $50 and that fucker is built like a work of art and again highly rated. Love them/hate them, they do have their shit in one sock which WalMart does not. WM, home of the cheapest crappiest low price junk China produces and maybe you will have 2 choices on the shelf. Junk or more junk.

Blankenstein's picture

Watch out.  Amazon commingles their inventory, so fakes from questionable third party Chinese companies are mixed with merchandise from a legitimate vendor.  

 

"Furthermore, Amazon's commingled inventory option bundles together products from different sellers, meaning that a counterfeit jacket could be sent to an Amazon facility by one merchant and actually sold by another"

 

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/08/amazons-chinese-counterfeit-problem-is-ge...

Rick Cerone's picture

Nazis are just pivoting to Asia.

US swine like this CEO will submit to Nazi control of his company.

Or else the gay brown shirts will have their way with you.

Herr Bezos is a "man?" to be feared, swine.

rejected's picture

Another proud government educated American I presume.

Twee Surgeon's picture

The Hippies are Revolting .

Normalcy Bias's picture

I could smell the patchouli oil/B.O. mix as I was reading this story.

Seriously though, kudos to Birkenstock for standing up to Amazon.

SoDamnMad's picture

Amazon and E Bay almost encourage counterfeiting. A little guy "invents" a new product that starts to sell. I almost wonder if A and E take a sample to China and ask if they can make the same thing for LESS. Cheaper is nice too but get it to me so I can offer it and crush the US little guy and reap big sales. 

MaxDemon's picture

When they sell the shoes then by definition they lose control over them.  Is it legal to prohibit the now owner of the shoes to sell them in bulk?  Sounds like anything from anti-trust to restarint of trade.

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

It is legal. They signed a contract.

Read the SCRIBD letter.

Chipped ham's picture

The retailer signs an agreement to sell in the way the vendor requires them to.  Violate that and the vendor has every right to pull the line from the retailer. 

Period. You think you know but you don't. 

You're welcome. 

MarsInScorpio's picture

Chipped ham:

The easiest analogy to illustrate your point is a fast-food franchise.

The franchisee buys everything from the Mother Company - product, condiments, sanitary supplies . . . you name it, that's where they get it.

The Mother Company controls raw materials for the franchise, and in addition, it controls the what products are produced with those materials (hamburgers, fried chicken, etc), the brand names of the products, and the way those names are spelled (Big Mac, Filet-o-Fish, etc.), the price points (within a range), the physical environment of the franchise (to the extant that it can be controlled in today's urban centers), and on and on and blah . . . .

That's the entire appeal of franchises: the only thing you have to do is do it the way they tell you to do it; a la turnkey.

Birkenstock is on solid ground; for example, a McDonald's franchisee can't sell Big Macs through another retail restaurant outlet.

HominyTwin's picture

The last time I was on Amazon reminded me of the time I was at a flea market near Denver: it wasn't just people selling their junk, but people selling piles of the same purses, shoes, etc., and you could never tell if it was real or a knock-off. Amazon is an online flea-market, plain and simple...ebay without the bidding bullshit.

LasVegasDave's picture

Most lazy, dumb Americans dont give a rats ass about honoring handshakes or even written contracts anymore.

 

The 2008 crash changed things forever.

 

Now everyone behaves like the wall street wolves, or the dindus; looking for whatever angle will allow them to maintain their current position.

 

Honor? Integrity?  fuck you, that’s what.

 

Until they bring back duels and debtor's prisons, the only place you’ll find integrity in 90% of the FUSA is in the white redoubt.

downwiththebanks's picture

Check out the fascitarians here at ZeroHedge ranting and raving about pensions, as though the promises made by corporations and governments, enshrined by contracts, don't count.

It's typical capitalist psycopathy.

Blankenstein's picture

The criminal politicians made the deals with the government unions, not the taxpayers, who are footing the bill.