Amazon , Inc., doing business as Amazon (/ˈæməzɒn/), is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company based in Seattle, Washington that was founded by Jeff Bezos on July 5, 1994. The tech giant is the largest Internet retailer in the world measured by revenue and market capitalization, and second largest after Alibaba Group in terms of total sales. The amazon.com website started as an online bookstore and later diversified to sell video downloads/streaming, MP3 downloads/streaming, audiobook downloads/streaming, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. The company also produces consumer electronics—Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Echo—and is the world’s largest provider of cloud infrastructure services (IaaS and PaaS). Amazon also sells certain low-end products like USB cables under its in-house brand AmazonBasics.
Amazon has separate retail websites for the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Japan, China, India, and Mexico. In 2016, Dutch, Polish, and Turkish language versions of the German Amazon website were also launched. Amazon also offers international shipping to certain other countries for some of its products.
Amazon has a great history of brands around the world
In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization. Amazon is the fourth most valuable public company in the world, the largest Internet company by revenue in the world, and the eighth largest employer in the United States. In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market for $13.4 billion, which vastly increased Amazon’s presence as a physical retailer. The acquisition was interpreted by some as a direct attempt to challenge Walmart and their brick-and-mortar stores.
Further information: Timeline of Amazon.com
The company was founded as a result of what Jeff Bezos called his “regret minimization framework,” which described his efforts to fend off any regrets for not participating sooner in the Internet business boom during that time. In 1994, Bezos left his employment as vice-president of D. E. Shaw & Co., a Wall Street firm, and moved to Seattle, Washington. He began to work on a business plan for what would eventually become Amazon.com.
On July 5, 1994, Bezos initially incorporated the company as Cadabra, Inc. Bezos changed the name to Amazon.com, Inc. a few months later, after a lawyer misheard its original name as “cadaver”. In September 1994, Bezos purchased the URL Relentless.com and briefly considered naming his online store Relentless, but friends told him the name sounded a bit sinister. The domain is still owned by Bezos and still redirects to the retailer. The company went online as Amazon.com in 1995.
Bezos selected the name Amazon by looking through the dictionary; he settled on “Amazon” because it was a place that was “exotic and different”, just as he had envisioned for his Internet enterprise. The Amazon River, he noted, was the biggest river in the world, and he planned to make his store the biggest bookstore in the world. Bezos placed a premium on his head start in building a brand and told a reporter, “There’s nothing about our model that can’t be copied over time. But you know, McDonald’s got copied. And it still built a huge, multibillion-dollar company. A lot of it comes down to the brand name. Brand names are more important online than they are in the physical world.” Additionally, a name that began with “A” was preferential due to the probability it would occur at the top of any list that was alphabetized.
After reading a report about the future of the Internet that projected annual Web commerce growth at 2,300%, Bezos created a list of 20 products that could be marketed online. He narrowed the list to what he felt were the five most promising products, which included: compact discs, computer hardware, computer software, videos, and books. Bezos finally decided that his new business would sell books online, due to the large worldwide demand for literature, the low price points for books, along with the huge number of titles available in print. Amazon was founded in the garage of Bezos’ home in Bellevue, Washington.
The company began as an online bookstore, which was an idea spurred off with a discussion with John Ingram of Ingram Book (now called Ingram Content Group), along with Keyur Patel who still holds a stake in Amazon. Amazon was able to access books at wholesale from Ingram. 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. While the largest brick and mortar bookstores and mail order catalogs might offer 200,000 titles, an online bookstore could “carry” several times more, since it would have a practically unlimited virtual warehouse: those of the actual product makers/suppliers.
Amazon was incorporated in 1994 in Washington State. In July 1995, the company began service and sold its first book on Amazon.com: Douglas Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought. In October 1995, the company announced itself to the public. In 1996, it was reincorporated in Delaware. Amazon issued its initial public offering of stock on May 15, 1997, trading under the NASDAQ stock exchange symbol AMZN, at a price of US$18.00 per share ($1.50 after three stock splits in the late 1990s).
Barnes & Noble sued Amazon on May 12, 1997, alleging that Amazon’s claim to be “the world’s largest bookstore” was false because it “…isn’t a bookstore at all. It’s a book broker.” The suit was later settled out of court and Amazon continued to make the same claim. Walmart sued Amazon on October 16, 1998, alleging that Amazon had stolen Walmart’s trade secrets by hiring former Walmart executives. Although this suit was also settled out of court, it caused Amazon to implement internal restrictions and the reassignment of the former Walmart executives.
Since June 19, 2000, Amazon’s logotype has featured a curved arrow leading from A to Z, representing that the company carries every product from A to Z, with the arrow shaped like a smile.
Amazon’s initial business plan was unusual; it did not expect to make a profit for four to five years. This “slow” growth caused stockholders to complain that the company was not reaching profitability fast enough to justify their investment or even survive in the long-term. The dot-com bubble burst at the start of the 21st century and 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: $5 million (i.e., 1¢ per share), on revenues of more than $1 billion. This profit margin, though extremely modest, proved to skeptics that Bezos’ unconventional business model could succeed. In 1999, Time magazine named Bezos the Person of the Year when it recognized the company’s success in popularizing online shopping.
In 2011, Amazon had 30,000 full-time employees in the USA, and by the end of 2016, it had 180,000 employees. The company employs 306,800 people worldwide in full and part-time jobs.
Amazon has a great history of brands around the world
On October 11, 2016, Amazon announced plans to build convenience stores and develop curbside pickup locations for food. In December 2016, the Amazon Go store was opened to Amazon employees in Seattle. The store uses a variety of sensors and automatically charges a shopper’s Amazon account as they walk out of the store, eliminating the need for checkout lines. The store is planned to open for the general public in early 2017.[needs update]
Day 1 building in Seattle
Wikinews has related news: Amazon.com to acquire Whole Foods at US$42 per share
In June 2017, Amazon announced that it would acquire Whole Foods, a high-end supermarket chain with over 400 stores, for $13.4 billion. The acquisition was seen by media experts as a move to strengthen its physical holdings and challenge Walmart’s supremacy as a brick and mortar retailer. This sentiment was heightened by the fact that the announcement coincided with Walmart’s purchase of men’s apparel company Bonobos. On August 23, 2017, Whole Foods shareholders, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, approved the deal.
In September 2017, Amazon announced plans for a second headquarters to be located in a metropolitan area with at least a million people. By October 19, 2017, cities were to submit their presentations for the project called HQ2. The $5 billion second headquarters, starting with 500,000 square feet and eventually expanding to as much as 8 million square feet, may have as many as 50,000 employees.
In 2020, Amazon will build a new downtown Seattle building with space for Mary’s Place, a local charity.
Mergers and acquisitions
Main article: List of mergers and acquisitions by Amazon.com
2008: Engine Yard, a Ruby-on-Rails platform as a service (PaaS) company.
2010: LivingSocial, a local deal site.
2014: Acquired the ‘.buy’ domain in an auction for $4,588,888
2014: Amazon announces a US$2 billion investment in India
2016: Amazon announces an additional US$3 billion investment in India
2017: Between May and July 2017, Amazon had pumped in ₹2,000 crore (US$310 million) in India with ₹130 crore (US$20 million) pumped its payment arm Amazon Pay India. In November 2017, Amazon pumped in another ₹2,900 crore (US$450 million) in the Indian arm.
2003: A9.com, a company focused on researching and building innovative technology.
2004: Lab126, developers of integrated consumer electronics such as the Kindle.
2007: Endless.com, an e-commerce brand focusing on shoes. (discontinued 2012)
2007: Brilliance Audio, the largest independent audiobook producer in the US.
2009: CreateSpace, self-publishing services for independent content creators, publishers, film studios and music labels; created by the internal merger of CustomFlix (on-demand DVDs for independent filmmakers) and BookSurge (self-publishing, on-demand printing, online distribution), both originally acquired 2005.
Amazon owns over 40 subsidiaries, including Zappos, Shopbop, Diapers.com, Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics), Audible, Goodreads, Teachstreet and IMDb.