RealTime IT News

Amazon Keeps Tight-Lipped on Europe

[June 9] Top executives at Amazon.com increased speculation Friday by refusing to say whether the next Amazon site currently being prepared in Europe is for France, Spain or Italy.

Diego Piacentini, Amazon's head of international operations, said that Spain was "a huge opportunity," an opinion confirmed by Chief Operating Joseph Galli who said Amazon would be trying to crack the Latin American market, having begun sales of Spanish-language books from its main site.

Meanwhile, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos appeared on British TV Thursday night, defending his company's decision to postpone profits in order to expand into other sectors of e-commerce.

Amazon already has two European sites, at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de. Most observers had been expecting the next one to be in France, but Spain now looks like a more likely contender.

In an interview with CNBC Europe, Galli would not be drawn on which country had been selected, saying that Amazon would only disclose its identity when the site is complete.

Galli confirmed that Amazon has registered a huge number of international Web addresses (URLs) in preparation for its global roll-out.

Recently, European management consultancy Roland Berger warned U.S. companies that the traditional country-by-country approach in Europe would not work. It strongly recommended rolling out the business in waves, such as U.K., Germany, and France simultaneously. If Amazon is heeding the advice it will be working on more than one additional European site.

Amazon, which makes a profit on selling books in the United States, also sells CDs, videos, electronics and other goods. It runs its U.K. operation at a loss, despite having 1.4 million customers and sales of £28 million ($42 million) in the first quarter of 2000.