1. From a resource-based view, what resources and capabilities do Asian firms involved in the production of Amazon's Kindle have that US firms do not have?
2. What are the differences between the production of PCs and the production of Amazon's Kindle?
3. From an institution-based view, what should the US government do to foster US competitiveness?
Amazon's Kindle is a revolutionary e-reader device developed by Amazon's Lab126 unit based in California. Kindle 1, which retailed for $399 and could hold approximately 200 e-books, sold out in its first six hours when it debuted in November 2007. Since then, Amazon unleashed a series of more powerful, but cheaper, Kindle models. In 2011, for the first time, Amazon sold more Kindle copies of books than print copies. Yet no US-based manufacturer is able to make this cutting-edge, high-tech product in the United States. Its components are made in China, Taiwan, and South Korea, and its final assembly is in China. Why Kindle cannot be made in its home country has become a new exhibit in the debate about the future of the US economy. Since no US-based manufacturer has the capabilities to produce Kindle at home, Amazon has no choice but to outsource Kindle’s production to Asia. Critics argue that after decades of outsourcing production to low-cost countries, US firms have lost not only millions of low-skill jobs but also the ability to make the next generation of high-tech, high-value goods. In addition to Kindle, the not-made-in-USA list includes electric-car batteries, light-emitting diodes, and carbon-fiber components of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.