Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2001 (Revised November 2009)

Amazon.com (D)

by Jeffrey F. Rayport, Dickson Louie and William A. Sahlman

Abstract

At the end of 1999, Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos--just named Time Magazine's Man of the Year--ponders the next moves for his company. Having expanded into numerous categories in 1999, ranging from Z-shops to Auctions to E-cards as well as increasing the number of distribution sites to seven, Amazon.com is quickly transforming itself as an electronic retailer. But does Amazon.com's strategy make sense? Critics worry that Bezos may be stretching the Amazon.com brand too far instead of focusing on a few retail categories. Bezos sees the opportunity to dominate various retail categories online--leveraging off its base of 16.9 million customers--before the brick-and-mortar retailers do.

Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Competitive Advantage; Expansion; Online Technology; Retail Industry;

Citation:

Rayport, Jeffrey F., Dickson Louie, and William A. Sahlman. "Amazon.com (D)." Harvard Business School Case 901-022, February 2001. (Revised November 2009.)