I am going to formulate a more detailed post on this tonight and I think this is a topic needing coverage. It is all about how Amazon got where they are.
The central point: Don't blame Amazon for killing retail. Amazon was and still is insanely focused on the customer which causes them to innovate around CUSTOMER needs and not internal politics.
While other companies are trying to figure out how to cut out value for the customer to improve costs, Amazon figured out what will "wow" the customer and then figured out how to do this at an acceptable cost.
If others would get maniacal about serving the customer, they could compete. The funny thing is most won't do it.