A recent report from Bloomberg revealed that Amazon‘s negotiation strategy during its recent failed bid to build a second headquarters (HQ2) in New York and Virginia was internally referred to as “Fuck you. We’re Amazon.”
In 2017 Amazon announced it had begun a global search for a city to host HQ2 prompting hundreds of cities to submit bids. A media circus quickly ensued and a reality TV-style atmosphere surrounded the entire event as Amazon slowly whittled its list down to 20 top choices. Eventually, it decided to split HQ2 between New York and Virginia.
Unfortunately for Amazon, it only negotiated with top-level state officials and left local elected politicians out of the loop. Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper, Matt Day, and Henry Goldman write:
Before going public, Amazon quietly tied up real estate deals and government agreements in the two locations, mindful that local real estate prices could spike if the media got wind of it. The prioritization of secrecy over building alliances proved fatal in New York.
Ultimately, the HQ2 project failed because Amazon was unrelenting in their negotiations. A large constituency of voters in New York are pro-union and their representatives are keenly aware of this fact. Amazon initially refused to capitulate to politicians’ requests that it pledge to remain neutral in the event that workers moved towards unionizing or chose to participate in union endeavors.
Further political maneuvering by those officials who were initially blind-sided by the deal lead to its destruction and stalled the company’s hopes for a giant New York payout.
Per Bloomberg’s sources, the company set out specifically to obtain a large-dollar handout with the HQ2 project after Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos expressed jealousy over Tesla CEO Elon Musk‘s ability to pit US states into bidding wars for the rights to host his factories.
This apparently led to the hard-line negotiation strategy that employees used when discussing HQ2 with potential cities.
Bezos and Amazon appear to be at greater odds with the US government than the other big tech companies in the trillion-dollar sphere. While Google and Facebook have both taken their fair share of heat from Congress, Amazon can’t seem to catch a break. Hell, it’s reportedly even paying taxes this year.
Not only did it lose a sure-thing in a done deal in New York and Virginia after “Fuck You. We’re Amazon” failed to impress New Yorkers, but it also had a lucrative Pentagon contract all but sewed up when, seemingly out of the blue, the US government decided to award the contract to Microsoft.
H/t: Business Insider