Amazon Inc is an American multinational technology company that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. Its headquarters are in Seattle, Washington. It has been referred to as "one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world", and is one of the world's most valuable brands.
It is one of the Big Five American information technology companies. Beginning as a book-selling company, founded by Jeff Bezos, it has grown to be in terms of revenue, the biggest internet-based company in the world.
Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in July 1994. He chose Seattle as a base because of its abundance of technical talent, as Microsoft was in the area.
In July 1995, Amazon opened as an online bookseller, selling the world's largest collection of books to anyone with World Wide Web access. The first book sold on Amazon.com was: Douglas Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought. In the first two months of business, Amazon sold to all 50 states and over 45 countries. Within two months, Amazon's sales were up to $20,000/week.
Amazon went public in May 1997. It began selling music and videos in 1998, and started international operations by acquiring online sellers of books in the United Kingdom and Germany. Next year, it began selling items including video games, consumer electronics, home improvement items, software, games, and toys.
Amazon did not expect to make a profit for four to five years. In 2001, the dot-com bubble burst destroyed many e-companies in the process, but Amazon survived and moved forward beyond the tech crash to become a huge player in online sales. The company finally turned its first profit in the fourth quarter of 2001: $0.01 (i.e., 1¢ per share), on revenues of more than $1 billion.
In 2002, it launched Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provided data on website popularity, Internet traffic patterns, and other statistics for marketers and developers. In 2006, Amazon also started Fulfillment by Amazon which allowed individuals and small companies to sell items through the company's Internet site.
In 2014, Amazon launched the Fire Phone. The Fire Phone was meant to deliver media streaming options but the venture failed, resulting in Amazon registering a $170 million loss. This new acquisition would be integrated into the game production division of Amazon.
In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization. In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market for US$13.4 billion, which substantially increased its footprint as a physical retailer. In 2018, Bezos announced that its two-day delivery service, Amazon Prime, had surpassed 100 million subscribers worldwide. 3 years later, they reported they have doubled their user base to 200 million subscribers worldwide.
Amazon generated $386 billion in US retail e-commerce sales in 2020.
Operating in North American and International markets, Amazon provides its services through websites such as amazon.com and amazon.ca. It also enables authors, musicians, filmmakers, app developers, and others to publish and sell content via its branded websites. Amazon is known for its disruption of well-established industries through technological innovation and mass scale. It is the world’s largest online marketplace, AI assistant provider, live-streaming platform and cloud computing platform as measured by revenue and market capitalization. Amazon is the largest Internet company by revenue in the world. It is the second-largest private employer in the United States and one of the world’s most valuable companies.
Amazon distributes downloads and streaming of video, music, and audiobooks through its Prime Video, Amazon Music, Twitch, and Audible subsidiaries. Amazon also has a publishing arm, Amazon Publishing, a film and television studio, Amazon Studios, and a cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services. It produces consumer electronics including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Echo devices. Its acquisitions over the years include Ring, Twitch, Whole Foods Market, and IMDb. The company has been criticized for various practices including technological surveillance overreach, a hyper-competitive and demanding work culture, tax avoidance, and for being anti-competitive.
As the company describes it, the mission of Amazon is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. This is what unites Amazonians across teams and geographies as they are all striving to delight our customers and make their lives easier, one innovative product, service, and idea at a time. This goal continues today, but Amazon’s customers are worldwide now, and have grown to include millions of Consumers, Sellers, Content Creators, and Developers & Enterprises.
Each of these groups has different needs, and Amazon always works to meet those needs, innovating new solutions to make things easier, faster, better, and more cost-effective.
“Our passion for pioneering will drive us to explore narrow passages, and, unavoidably, many will turn out to be blind alleys. But – with a bit of good fortune – there will also be a few that open up into broad avenues”. – Jeff Bezos
In terms of the vision, as per its website, Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. They are driven by the excitement of building technologies, inventing products, and providing services that change lives. They embrace new ways of doing things, make decisions quickly, and are not afraid to fail.
Jeff Bezos (Founder and Executive Chairman )
Andy Jassy (President and Chief Executive Officer)
Brian T. Olsavsky (Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer)
David H. Clark (Chief Executive Officer, Worldwide Consumer)
Shelley L. Reynolds (Vice President, Worldwide Controller)
Adam N. Selipsky (Chief Executive Officer, Amazon Web Services)
Amazon.com has a number of products and services available, including:
Amazon Prime is a paid subscription service from Amazon which is available in various countries and gives users access to additional services otherwise unavailable or available at a premium to other Amazon customers. Services include same, one or two-day delivery of goods and streaming music, video, e-books, gaming and grocery shopping services. In April 2021, Amazon reported that Prime had more than 200 million subscribers worldwide.
Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon providing on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis. These cloud computing web services provide a variety of basic abstract technical infrastructure and distributed computing building blocks and tools.
Other services/products include:
Jeff Bezos(Founder and Executive Chairman )
Andy Jassy(President and Chief Executive Officer)
Brian T. Olsavsky(Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer)
David H. Clark(Chief Executive Officer, Worldwide Consumer)
Shelley L. Reynolds(Vice President, Worldwide Controller)
Adam N. Selipsky(Chief Executive Officer, Amazon Web Services)