First, Borders famously flubbed its relationship with the Internet. From 2001 until 2008, it outsourced its online sales to Amazon, essentially handing customers over to the bigger, better site during the formative years of e-commerce. How on earth did that happen? The company's 2000 annual report explains: "Our online investment will be channeled to support our in-store platform, while Borders.com will continue to be utilized as a convenience retail channel," the report reads. "We have targeted loss reduction as a major goal in this area."
The article confirms something I wrote about yesterday.Translation: Borders decided to channel its "online investment" not to its website but to its "in-store platform": Title Sleuth, "the innovative self-help computer stations in Borders stores." The next year, to get the "loss reduction" it sought—that is, in an effort to lose less money—Borders tossed the keys to its website to Jeff Bezos. The company finally got them back in May 2008.
There is a human cost here.Still, Borders' decision to liquidate, closing 399 stores and laying off 10,700 employees, seemed shocking.