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Subject: UKNM: WHSmith+IBS=???
From: Steve Johnston
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 14:25:48 +0100

OK as nobody else sees to think this key moment in UK e-commerce history worthy of note, I'll introduce the subject.

Does it sit somewhere on the spectrum which at one end is a deeply ill-advised waste of WHS money and at the other is an inspired move to fend off the threat from the US?

WHS in the last couple of years has done little to inspire much in the way of credibility in this arena, witness their current web site at http://www.whsmith.co.uk/ . So how are they, and who is going to, grasp the opportunity and the learning they have acquired from Internet Bookshop ( http://www.bookshop.co.uk/ ) and provide some commercial leadership? I'd like to know.

Opinions vary about how commercially effective IBS have been, yet to be the target of probably the largest UK Internet retailer acquisition, is no mean feat. I assume Darryl Mattocks to be happily on his way to the bank.

What will WHSmith do, will they follow their 9.4 million with the other 50 million or more it will need to fend of the recently energised Bookpages ( http://www.bookpages.co.uk/ ) or is it www.amazon.co.uk? And how will they communicate this to the marketplace. The Guardian reported it as WHSmith's effort to defend against Amazon.com, time will tell.

Steve Johnston
Director of Development
IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group)

Stonecutter Court, 1 Stonecutter Street
London EC4A 4TR, UK
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