Case Detail

Case Summary

Amazon's Kindle: Crossing the Chasm

Case Number: 5-111-009, Year Published: 2012

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Authors: Mohanbir Sawhney; Sachin Waikar; Sean Alpert; Gerardo Cardone; Ryan Mullin; Barnaby Nardella; Edward Sim; Hsin-Ting Huang

Key Concepts

e-Readers, Product Launch, Marketing Strategy, Market Opportunity Analysis, Segmentation, Positioning, Targeting, New-to-the-World Products


Amazon had achieved success far beyond its expectations when it launched the Kindle e-Reader in November 2007. The marketing team at Amazon had adopted a “launch and learn” approach rather than target specific markets with this digital device on the cutting edge of technology. Now, six months later, it faced a more complex decision as it prepared to launch the second-generation Kindle. The team at Amazon felt that it must focus and choose its target market more precisely this time in order to position the product for long-term success. The choice of the target market would dictate not only the design and features of the device but would also influence the content, capabilities, and go-to-market strategy, including its partners, channels, and promotional tactics. The Kindle team had identified three promising market opportunities for the device—college students, mobile business professionals, and avid readers—but gearing the product toward a specific segment would likely diminish its appeal to others. Now the team had to decide which of the target markets represented the best opportunity for the Kindle.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
• Understand the process of market opportunity analysis, including market attractiveness, capability fit, and financial evaluation of different opportunities
• Recognize the challenges in mainstreaming a technology product from early adopters to the broader market
• Learn to segment, target, and position a product for the chosen market
• Develop a focused go-to-market strategy for the chosen market

Number of Pages: 23

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing, Strategy, Technology

Geographic: United States

Industry: Internet Retail

Organization Name: Amazon

Decision Maker Position: Senior Product Manager

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2008