Handelsblatt Exclusive

Time to Level the Playing Field

Mann mit Boxhandschuhen / Chart
Otto Group's chief thinks Amazon and Apple have unfair advantage - they lack a social conscience.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Michael Otto fears that U.S. rivals are taking advantage of lax governments to get an edge.

  • Facts


    • Otto Group is the world’s biggest mail order companies.
    • It is the parent company of furniture seller Crate and Barrel.
    • The company gets two thirds of its €9.9 billion ($11.2 billion) retail sales from online orders.
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Michael Otto may be chairman of the world’s biggest mail-order company, but in the age of Amazon and other online retailers, his traditional retail model is struggling to keep up. As the German retail giant moves to modernize its business, Mr. Otto has a bone to pick with some of his biggest U.S. rivals.

Apple and Amazon have a dark side, he seemed to suggest in an interview with Handelsblatt, taking advantage of lax regulations by governments.

For example, Mr. Otto said he “can’t understand why it’s the really big U.S. companies like Apple that hardly pay taxes. That distorts the competition.” He added: “There’s a lot of talk about the way the wealthy are taxed. I think that commercial taxation should be made fairer.”

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