Amazon: A move from channel to platform?

One way to look at the news that Toys R Us has sued Amazon.com over an accused violation of exclusivity rights as an online channel distributor is that Toys R Us is trying to protect both its market share and its channel distribution (which it paid plenty for.)
Another way to look at the same case is that it demonstrates how Amazon is shifting its view of itself from being a channel to being a platform. As a channel (online retailing) Amazon aims to be a dominant marketplace for ecommerce–with over 44MM registered users, they’ve clearly fulfilled that aim. Now, they seem interested in becoming more of a platform, akin in a way to UPS or FedEx in the amazing variety of ways they can service merchants and purchasers.
Cynthia Webb’s column in the Washington Post does a nice job laying out the facts, and the Times story notes Amazon’s desire to compete with eBay, but neither mentioned that Amazon may want to expand their mission from providing customers with the best buying experience on the net to providing the best buying–and selling–experience on the net.
If Amazon is moving toward that vision, they would want to power as many merchants as possible(–within the scope of their current contracts and agreements, of course.) My sense is that is that is exactly what is happening, and that A9 and GUI and their other tools are going to be positioned as powerful distribution products to support global trading, with their own commerce business as just one leg of their stool.
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