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Posted by Sucharita Mulpuru on August 3, 2012
Last week, my colleague Brian Walker and I released a lengthy overview of Amazon, its role in retail, and what eBusiness executives need to do to compete with this growing retail force. The larger undercurrent of the report is that Amazon is affecting everyone’s business: its tentacles extend far into digital and physical goods, it is vertically integrated but also a distributor, it is unafraid to spend money to gain market share, and it can successfully compete on price with retailers far bigger than itself. And when disruptive forces arise, they dominate for years. So that begs an even bigger question of Amazon: if this is its decade, who will displace it? The company seems unstoppable now, and it will take a radical new business to displace it. Here are three possibilities:
Google, Apple and even Microsoft could also buy themselves some of Amazon’s market share, though that’s a discussion for another day. But the biggest threat to Amazon is of course itself. Already, it is viewed as a competitor to everyone in the retail ecosystem, and its broad focus and ruthless ambition threaten to worsen the customer experience. The Kindle Fire, for instance, didn’t turn out to be an iPad killer, and if more merchants were to leave the Amazon marketplace, the company may turn out to be its own worst enemy. But for now, an Amazon that keeps stealing market share from everyone else is here to stay.