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Netflix board member says government crackdown on Amazon ‘inevitable’ due to its massive size

  • Venture capitalist Rich Barton says Amazon will face government scrutiny in the future like Microsoft did in the 1990s, according to a Bloomberg View podcast interview.
  • Barton is a technology entrepreneur who started billion-dollar companies Expedia and Zillow. He has served on the board of directors of Netflix since 2002.

Technology entrepreneur Rich Barton says government intervention on Amazon in the future is unavoidable.

Barton was asked about his views on Amazon in relation to the Department of Justice's antitrust investigation of Microsoft during the 1990s in a Bloomberg podcast interview.

"I lived through that DOJ thing. It was really rough. It's no fun. And I think it is inevitable as companies get really, really huge," Barton said in the podcast interview published Friday.

"I think Jeff [Bezos] is probably well aware of that," Barton said. Bezos "is trying to do everything he can to delay that as long as possible and to play within the rules, but eventually the tall poppy gets chopped in."

Barton has served on Netflix's board of directors since 2002. He is one of the few businessmen who have started multiple billion-dollar companies. He founded Expedia in 1994, co-founded Zillow in 2005 and worked as a product manager at Microsoft in the early 1990s. Currently, Barton is a venture partner at Benchmark Capital.

Expedia and Zillow have market values of $23 billion and $8 billion respectively, according to FactSet.

The entrepreneur also predicted Amazon will likely dominate the software business going forward:

"They are really the major force in enterprise software as well now. Because of AWS [Amazon Web Services] and because pretty much most computing is moving into the cloud … The whole enterprise software stack is moving out of these premise based systems as sold by Oracle, Microsoft, IBM [while] Amazon keeps adding more and more functionality embedded as a service within the cloud and is taking over chunk by chunk ... these enterprise software categories."

Last week Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hinted the administration may soon take "a position" on Amazon's tax collection policy after President Donald Trump repeatedly blasted the company on the topic on Twitter.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

See the full Bloomberg podcast interview here.