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

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


At the end of 1999, 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, is quickly transforming itself as an electronic retailer. But does's strategy make sense? Critics worry that Bezos may be stretching the 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;


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