Case Study Trailer

Successes and Failures of Amazon’s Growth Strategies: Causes and Consequences

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, KOO, Oh Young


Started as an online bookstore 22 years earlier, Amazon had achieved unceasing growth, becoming the largest internet bookstore, the largest online marketplace, a global media company, and the most successful IT service provider. In 2015, the online retailer expanded to the brick-and-mortar retail business, launching Amazon Books across the US and beta-testing Amazon Go in Seattle. As of May 2017, Amazon was ranked ‘the most innovative company’ and the world’s fourth-largest company by market capitalization.

To achieve this multi-faceted growth, Amazon has made countless strategic moves. The case explores Amazon’s 20-year path for growth and introduces both successful and failed strategic moves. Successful strategic moves are Marketplace, Prime, Amazon Web Services, and Kindle; failed strategic moves are Auctions, A9 Search Engine, Endless, and Fire Phone. It analyzes commonalities and differences among them; to thereby understand the roots of the company’s high and poor performance. Blue ocean strategy concepts are applied to analyze Amazon’s market-creating strategic logic for future growth.

The case comes with a teaching note and a lecture slide pack.

Get the one page summary of the case and teaching objectives here.

Case Study
Teaching Note
One Page Summary
Lecture Slides

Teaching Materials

Blue ocean pedagogical materials, used in over 2,800 universities and in almost every country in the world, go beyond the standard case-based method. Our multimedia cases and interactive exercises are designed to help you build a deeper​ understanding of key blue ocean strategy concepts, developed by world-renowned professors Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Materials available from Harvard Business Publishing
Blue Ocean Shift | Strategy materials available from The Case Centre
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