Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2012 (Revised October 2013)

eBay, Inc. and Amazon.com (A)

by Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and Anant Thaker

Abstract

This case has been designed to explore strategic interactions among organizations with different business models. The case considers how a competitor successfully challenged the incumbent in a platform market defined by strong network effects and high switching costs. The case allows students to assess the advantages and disadvantages of eBay's platform business model in comparison to Amazon's retail business model; to evaluate business model performance when value loops of two industry players interact; to analyze how Amazon expanded its business model and overcame barriers to entry in a platform market that generates winner-take-all effects for first movers; discuss how eBay can respond to the new competitive dynamic, exploring both tactical and strategic interactions; and assess the strategic implications of eBay's 2011 acquisition of GSI Commerce.

Citation:

Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon, and Anant Thaker. "eBay, Inc. and Amazon.com (A)." Harvard Business School Case 712-405, April 2012. (Revised October 2013.)