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Nov. 6, 2018 / 9:44 PM GMT
By Alyssa Newcomb
After more than a year of building up anticipation for a new headquarters and the economic benefits that would follow, Amazon is coming under scrutiny for reports that the company will be splitting its new offices between New York and Washington.
The surprise twist to the business and technology world’s favorite guessing game has been met with criticism by people who feel duped.
“Amazon extracting highly favorable terms, only to halve its promise and expect those same terms, is an exercise of bargaining power that will be familiar to many of the millions of merchants reliant on Amazon’s platform,” tweeted Lina Khan, a senior fellow with the Open Markets Institute.
Amazon set off a bidding war last year when it announced a quest to find an “equal” to its Seattle campus, with 238 cities vying for Amazon’s “HQ2” by offering tax incentives and staging publicity stunts. One Arizona economic group attempted to send a giant cactus to Seattle, while the mayor of Kansas City reviewed 1,000 items on Amazon’s website.
Overheard @amazon –We need another HQ –Gamify, dominate headlines, induce irrational tax breaks –A contest? –Yes, any city can win,,, where I have a home –Oh no, word is out contest has been a con –NP, announce winner(s) in midst of busiest news day of 2018
“The real HQ2 was the dignity we lost along the way,” wrote Henry Grabar at Slate.
“This entire charade was an exercise in corporate leverage,” tweeted Mike Isaac, a technology journalist at The New York Times.
Amazon has not yet publicly announced a decision, but a report from the Times said Amazon had been zeroing in on the New York City area and Northern Virginia. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, told reporters on Monday that he would be willing to change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” if New York won the new headquarters.
As a side note while my tea water boils, Amazon making all these cities across America compete in a beauty pageant, and then selecting New York and Washington DC is just … movie villain level.
The selection of New York and Washington also generated criticism.
“Amazon parlayed HQ2 into incredibly outsized media attention,” tweeted Mike Rosenberg, a housing and real estate reporter at The Seattle Times. “In the end it was for office expansions to increase jobs by 0.2% in the NY metro area & 0.8% in the DC area, two of the richest places on Earth.”
“Amazon could have really changed an American city’s whole trajectory so looks like they went with… New York and DC,” tweeted Meredith Haggerty, a senior editor at Vox Media.
Alyssa Newcomb is an NBC News contributor who writes about business and technology.
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