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Amazon

An American multinational technology company

Summary

Amazon is an international e-commerce website for consumers, sellers, and content creators. It is one of the Big Five American information technology companies, alongside Google (Alphabet Inc.), Apple, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft. The company is often viewed as a disruptor of well-established industries through technological innovation and mass scale. As of now, it is the world’s largest Internet company, online marketplace, AI assistant provider, cloud computing platform, and live-streaming service as measured by revenue and market share.

Amazon Marketplace is the biggest e-commerce platform in the world. It enables third-party sellers to sell new or used products. Amazon itself also acts as a seller, a role which it is often criticized for.

History

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.

Amazon generated $386 billion in US retail e-commerce sales in 2020.

Solutions and services

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.

Amazon.com has a number of products and services available, including:

Amazon Prime

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

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:

Amazon Fresh
Alexa
Appstore
Amazon Drive
Echo
Kindle
Fire tablets
Fire TV
Video
Kindle Store
Music
Music Unlimited
Amazon Digital Software & Video Games
Amazon Studios
AmazonWireless
Amazon Academy

Mission and vision

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.

Team

Jeffrey P. Bezos, Executive Chair:

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994. Bezos is also the founder of aerospace company Blue Origin, which is working to lower the cost and increase the safety of spaceflight, and he is the owner of the Washington Post. Bezos has launched two philanthropic organizations. The Bezos Earth Fund helps fund nonprofits preserving and protecting the natural world, and The Bezos Day One Fund provides grants to nonprofits to help homeless families and is creating a network of preschools in low-income communities. He graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University in 1986, and was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 1999.

Andy Jassy, President and Chief Executive Officer:

Andy Jassy is President and CEO of Amazon.com and also serves on the Board of Directors. He founded and led Amazon Web Services (AWS) from its inception and served as its CEO from April 2016 until July 2021. He joined Amazon in 1997 and, prior to founding AWS, held various leadership roles across the company, including both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. He has an AB from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Brian T. Olsavsky, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer:

Mr. Olsavsky joined Amazon.com in April 2002. As CFO of Amazon.com, he oversees the company’s overall financial activities, including controllership, tax, treasury, analysis, investor relations, internal audit and financial operations. Prior to joining Amazon.com, Mr. Olsavsky spent seven years at Fisher Scientific, where he held a variety of financial and business management roles, and a total of eight years at BF Goodrich and Union Carbide, where he held a variety of financial and operational roles. Mr. Olsavsky received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State and an MBA in Finance from Carnegie Mellon University.

David H. Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Worldwide Consumer:

Dave Clark has served as CEO Worldwide Consumer since January 2021. Dave has been at Amazon since 1999 and has held a variety of positions, including Senior Vice President, Worldwide Operations, Vice President, Worldwide Operations, Vice President, Global Customer Fulfillment, and Vice President, North America Operations.

Shelley L. Reynolds, Vice President, Worldwide Controller:

Shelley Reynolds joined Amazon in February 2006 as Vice President of Finance and Controller. In April 2007, she was promoted to Vice President, Worldwide Controller and Principal Accounting Officer. In her role, she oversees Amazon’s accounting function, leading the team that touches every geography in which the company operates. Ms. Reynolds received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, where she currently serves on the advisory board.

Adam N. Selipsky, Chief Executive Officer, Amazon Web Services:

Adam Selipsky is CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, and spent over a decade building AWS, serving as Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Support for AWS from 2005 until September 2016. Before that, he was a Principal at Mercer Management Consulting, a strategy consulting firm. He has an AB from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

References

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/amazon

http://panmore.com/amazon-com-inc-vision-statement-mission-statement-analysis

https://www.linkedin.com/company/amazon/

https://www.amazon.jobs/en/working/working-amazon

https://www.comparably.com/companies/amazon/mission

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_(company)

https://ir.aboutamazon.com/officers-and-directors/default.aspx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Prime

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Web_Services

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Amazon

http://www.inc.com/30years/articles/jeff-bezos.html