Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2008 (Revised February 2012)

Amazon Web Services

by Robert S. Huckman, Gary P. Pisano and Liz Kind

Abstract

Considers the development of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a division of Amazon.com, Inc., specializing in the provision of web-based storage and computing services to web developers. The case focuses on the issues facing Andy Jassy, the head of AWS, in 2008 as AWS faces increased competition from established technology giants, such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM. Students are asked to consider whether entry into web services by Amazon, which had established its brand in retail, represented a prudent move by the company. The case provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits of AWS's variable pricing for developers and to determine where overlaps exist between Amazon's core retailing business and AWS. Students are also provided with an opportunity to discuss operational diversification and its limits within the AWS context.

Keywords: Price; Market Entry and Exit; Service Operations; Competition; Diversification; Retail Industry; Web Services Industry;

Citation:

Huckman, Robert S., Gary P. Pisano, and Liz Kind. "Amazon Web Services." Harvard Business School Case 609-048, October 2008. (Revised February 2012.)