"You could almost go to the front page of Amazon.co.uk, print it out and slice it up with a razor blade. Each of those parts is potentially a Web service."
This vision of Amazon's future would undoubtedly cause technical and brand managers at more risk-averse Internet companies to shift uncomfortably in their seats at the thought of precious intellectual property and code fractured and spinning around the Web.
But not Jeff Barr. The man behind the statement, Amazon's Web services evangelist, has a clear vision of the massive potential of thinking of an e-commerce site as a collection of lucrative components, to be utilised as individual services over the Web, rather than as an amorphous shopping portal.
And despite his zealous job title, Barr's vision isn't idle aspiration but based on a programme that has been in existence for over a year and has yielded concrete results and, if Amazon's financial claims to date are anything to go by, concrete profits.
Amazon.com recently joined Google and eBay in making key parts of its database available to developers as Web services which they can directly integrate into their own commerce sites or use to build tools for other merchants to sell online. The creators then take a cut of any sales made.
Since April 2002, when the scheme was launched in the US, Amazon has signed up around 30,000 developers, or 'hackers', and allowed them to download data feeds in XML. The programme was extended to Amazon.co.uk in March this year.
Barr claims that although the number of developers in the Web services programme already far outstrips its own internal programming team, tens of thousands more are expected to join in the future.
"We have got 30,000 developers out there and we certainly don't have 30,000 developers in our building here," he says.
The first fruits of the Web services programme include companies such as Seller Engine, which has built a desktop application that uses Amazon's XML feed to allow companies selling on Amazon to compare their prices to those of other Amazon suppliers.
Another developer has created an entire store on the Web using Amazon's service which looks like a normal e-commerce site but all the selling and search components are obviously Amazon.
But despite all this good work, a growing army of developers, tens of thousands strong, with access to database and brand information must poise some brand management and security risks?