Amazon: Evolution of the e-Tailer

By Robert Burgelman, Philip Meza
2001 | Case No. SM83
This case describes the evolution of Amazon.com from its inception in 1996 as an online bookseller, to its position in 2001 as a globally recognized e-commerce brand. Through an interview with Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, this case reviews the evolution of the company’s business model. At its founding, Amazon.com mostly brokered book purchases through its website. Over five years of phenomenal growth the company expanded into international markets and added many categories, partners and physical infrastructure. The case examines Amazon’s growth, fueled by the Internet bubble and looks at how the company coped with increased scrutiny on profitability.
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