ORDER YOUR PAPER NOWThe Kindle e-reader pioneered the shift from paper books to electronic ones, creating a market that now accounts for more than a 10th of spending on books in America and which Amazon dominates. Less visible but just as transformative is Amazon’s invention in 2006 of cloud-computing as a pay-as-you-go service, now a $9 billion market. That venture, called Amazon Web Services (AWS), has slashed the technology costs of starting an enterprise or running an existing one. And Amazon enjoys an advantage most competitors envy: Remarkably patient shareholders. The company made a net profit of just $274 million last year, a minuscule amount in relation to its revenues and its $154 billion value on the stock exchange; its shares are valued at more than 500 times last year’s earnings, 34 times the multiple for Wal-Mart. Its core retail business is thought to do little better than break-even; most of its profits come from the independent vendors who sell through Amazon’s marketplace. Such long-termism takes investment. In its early days Amazon avoided direct competition with retailers because its lack of stores made it “capital light”. Today its empire of warehouses and data centers has changed that. Now its pitch to merchants and technologists is that it will build physical assets so that they do not have to. By doing so, it keeps its competitors close and makes them depend on Amazon for key parts of their business models Strategic Thinking Essay Discussion Paper Source: Amazon - Relentless.com, The Economist, Print edition, June 21, 2014. a) What is strategic thinking? b) Why long-term perspective is important for strategic thinking? c) What are the sources of Amazon’s success described in the mini case above?
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