Amazon.com, Inc. /ˈæməzɒn/ is an American international electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer.Amazon.com started as an online bookstore, but soon diversified, selling DVDs, VHSs, CDs, video and MP3 downloads/streaming, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. The company also produces consumer electronics—notably the Amazon Kindle e-book reader and the Kindle Fire tablet computer—and is a major provider of cloud computing services.
Jeff Bezos incorporated the company (as Cadabra) in July 1994 and the site went online as Amazon.com in 1995. The company was renamed after the Amazon River, one of the largest rivers in the world, which in turn was named after the Amazons, the legendary nation of female warriors in Greek mythology.
Amazon has separate retail websites for United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Japan, China, India and Mexico, with international shipping to certain other countries for some of its products. In 2011, it had professed an intention to launch its websites in Poland, Netherlands, and Sweden, as well.An Austrian website operates as part of the German website. As of June 2014, it still does not service Australia or New Zealand.
The company was founded in 1994, spurred by what 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. He began to work on a business plan for what would eventually become Amazon.com.
After reading a report about the future of the Internet which projected annual Web commerce growth at 2,300%, Bezos created a list of 20 products which 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 world-wide demand for literature, the low price points for books, along with the huge number of titles available in print. Amazon was originally founded in Bezos' garage in Bellevue, Washington.
The company began as an online bookstore, an idea spurred off with discussion with John Ingram of Ingram Book (now called Ingram Content Group), along with Keyur Patel who still holds a stake in Amazon. 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 they had an almost unlimited virtual (not actual) warehouse: those of the actual product makers/suppliers.
Bezos wanted a name for his company that began with "A" so that it would appear early in alphabetic order. He began looking through the dictionary and settled on "Amazon" because it was a place that was "exotic and different" just as he planned for his store to be, and he believed it was the biggest river in the world, and he planned to make his store the biggest in the world.Bezos placed a premium on his head start in building a brand, telling 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."
Since 2000, Amazon's logotype has featured a curved arrow leading from A to Z, representing that they carry every product from A to Z, with the arrow shaped like a smile.
Amazon was incorporated in 1994, in the state of Washington. 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).
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 about the company not reaching profitability fast enough to justify investing in, or to even survive in the long-term. When the dot-com bubble burst at the start of the 21st Century, destroying many e-companies in the process, Amazon survived, and grew on past the bubble burst to become a huge player in online sales. It 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, recognizing the company's success in popularizing online shopping.
Barnes & Noble sued Amazon on May 12, 1997, alleging that Amazon's claim to be "the world's largest bookstore" was false. Barnes and Noble asserted, "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 their 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
Acquisitions and investments
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1998: PlanetAll, a reminder service based in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Junglee, an XML-based data mining startup based in Sunnyvale; Bookpages.co.uk,a UK online book retailer, which became Amazon UK on October 15, 1998; Telebook (www.telebuch.de) was Germany's leading online bookstore, it became Amazon's German online store;Internet Movie Database(IMDb).
1999: Alexa Internet a database company;Accept.com a financial services company; Drugstore.com 40% investment in 1999,[4increased stake in 2000, sold stake to Wallgreens in 2011 for a 90% loss;] GeoWorks, a wireless communications company, acquisition of a minority interest; Pets.com, purchased a 54 percent stake; LiveBid.com, which produced Internet-based auction software; e-Niche Incorporated comprising Exchange.com, Bibliofind.com (hard-to-find book titles), and Musicfile.com (hard to find music titles); HomeGrocer.com, a 35 percent stake in the online grocer;Gear.com, 49 percent stake (the company was purchased by Overstock.com in 2000); Tool Crib of the North, acquired the online and catalog sales division of the company in October 1999, selling a very wide variety of tools and home improvement items;Convergence Corporation, software to connect wireless devices to the Internet; MindCorps Incorporated, applications for web sites including online chats to web based databases; Della.com, gift registry, expert advice, and personalized gift suggestions, Amazon purchased a 20% stake(in April 2000, the company merged with WeddingChannel.com); Back to Basics Toys, catalog toy store (sold to Scholastic in 2003); Ashford.com, retailer of luxury products, Amazon acquired a 16.6 percent ownership; Leep Technology Inc., developer of on-line database query tools;
2003: Online music retailer CDNow. By 2011, the website cdnow.com was defunct and in use by a different company.
2004: Joyo.com, a Chinese e-commerce website.
2005: BookSurge, a print on demand company, and Mobipocket.com, an e-book software company. CreateSpace.com (formerly CustomFlix), a distributor of on-demand DVDs, based in Scotts Valley, California. CreateSpace has since expanded to include print on-demand books (POD), CDs, and video.
2006: Shopbop, a retailer of designer clothing and accessories for women, based in Madison, Wisconsin.
2007: dpreview.com, a digital photography review website based in London; Brilliance Audio, the largest independent publisher ofaudiobooks in the United States.
2008: Audible.com; Fabric.com; Box Office Mojo; AbeBooks; Shelfari;(including a 40% stake in LibraryThing and whole ownership of BookFinder.com, Gojaba.com, and FillZ); Reflexive Entertainment, a casual video game development company.
2009: Zappos, an online shoe and apparel retailer Lexcycle, SnapTell, an image matching startup, Stanza, a rival e-book reader to Amazon's Kindle.
2010: Touchco., Woot, Quidsi, BuyVIP, Amie Street.
2010: Toby Press
2011: LoveFilm, The Book Depository, Pushbutton Yap,
2012: Kiva Systems, Teachstreet Evi
2013: IVONA Software, Goodreads Liquavista
2014: Double Helix Games, comiXology
2008: Engine Yard, a Ruby-on-Rails platform as a service (PaaS) company.
2010: LivingSocial, a local deal site.
2004: 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.
2007: Brilliance Audio, the largest independent audiobook producer in the US.
Amazon owns over 40 subsidiaries, including Zappos, Diapers.com, Kiva Systems, Goodreads, Teachstreet, and IMDb.Merchant partnershipsUntil June 30, 2006, typing ToysRUs.com into a browser would bring up Amazon.com's "Toys & Games" tab; however, this relationship was terminated due to a lawsuit. Amazon also hosted and managed the website for Borders bookstores but this ceased in 2008. From 2001 until August 2011, Amazon hosted the retail website for Target. Benefit Cosmetics, another merchant partner of Amazon, has also launched a major E-Commerce platform of their own based on Hybris and arvato systems NA, in the US, EU and China.Amazon.com operates retail websites for Sears Canada, bebe Stores, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, and Lacoste. For a growing number ofenterprise clients, currently including the UK merchants Marks & Spencer, Benefit Cosmetics' UK entity, edeals.com, and Mothercare, Amazon provides a unified multichannel platform where a customer can interact with some people they call the retail website, standalone in-store terminals, or phone-based customer service agents. Amazon Web Services also powers AOL's [email protected] October 18, 2011, Amazon.com announced a partnership with DC Comics for the exclusive digital rights to many popular comics, including Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Sandman, and Watchmen. The partnership has caused well-known bookstores like Barnes & Noble to remove these titles from their shelves.In November 2013, Amazon.com announced a partnership with the United States Postal Service to begin delivering orders on Sundays. The service, included with Amazon’s standard shipping rates, initiated in metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and New York, with plans to expand into Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix by 2014.LocationsAmazon has offices, fulfillment centers, warehouses, customer service centers and software development centers across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.Headquarters
Amazon.com's former headquarters in the Pacific Medical Center building inBeacon Hill, Seattle.
Amazon headquarters building inSeattle (South Lake Union)The company's global headquarters are in 14 buildings in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. The European headquarters are in Luxembourg's capital, Luxembourg City. In Seattle, as of 2013, a 3-tower headquarters near Amazon's existing buildings with a capacity of 12,000 employees was under construction.Software development centersWhile much of Amazon's software development occurs in Seattle, the company employs software developers in centers across the globe. Some of these sites are run by an Amazon subsidiary called A2Z Development.
USA: Cambridge, Massachusetts; Irvine, California; Charleston, SC; Cupertino, California; Orange County, California; San Francisco; San Luis Obispo, California;Seattle; New York and Tempe, Arizona
Canada: Vancouver, British Columbia, Toronto downtown and Mississauga, Ontario
Germany: Berlin and Dresden
UK: Slough (England), London (England) Dunfermline (Scotland) and Edinburgh (Scotland)
India: Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai
Japan: Meguro (Tokyo)
South Africa: Cape Town
Customer service centers
United States: Kennewick, Washington; Huntington, West Virginia; Grand Forks, North Dakota;Winchester, Kentucky
India: Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore
South Africa: Cape Town
Philippines: EGS Manila, Convergys Cebu, Convergys Bacolod
Morocco: Sala al Jadida
UK: Edinburgh, Scotland
Costa Rica: Heredia and San Jose
Fulfillment and warehousingFulfillment centers are located in the following cities, often near airports. These centers also provide warehousing and order-fulfillment for third-party sellers:Warehouses are large and each has hundreds of employees. Employees are responsible for four basic tasks: unpacking and inspecting incoming goods; placing goods in storage and recording their location; picking goods from their computer recorded locations to make up an individual shipment; and shipping. A central computer which records the location of goods and maps out routes for pickers plays a central role; employees carry hand-held computers which communicate with the central computer and monitor their rate of progress. A picker with their cart may walk 10 or more miles a day. In the United Kingdom initial staffing was provided by Randstad Holding and other temporary employment agencies. Some workers are accepted as Amazon employees and granted pension and shares of stock; others are dismissed. "When we have permanent positions available, we look to the top performing temporary associates to fill them." Development of a high level of automation is anticipated in the future following Amazon's 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, a warehouse automation company.
Customer Service Center in Huntington, West Virginia
San Bernardino, California
Tracy, California (opening 2014)
Windsor Locks, Connecticut
New Castle, Delaware
Baltimore (opening Fall 2014)
Robbinsville, New Jersey (opening early 2014)
North Las Vegas, Nevada
Nashua, New Hampshire
Lexington, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina;
Irving, TX (between Dallas and Fort Worth)
Schertz, Texas (near San Antonio)
Dinwiddie, Virginia (near Richmond, VA)
DuPont, Washington (opening Fall 2013)
Huntington, West Virginia
Annacis Island a part of Delta, British Columbia
Amazon.co.uk warehouse inGlenrothes, Scotland, UK
United Kingdom, as of 2013, 7 in operation with 3 more planned.
Marston Gate (near Brogborough)
Swansea (near Jersey Marine)
Sevrey (Autumn 2012)
Lauwin-Planque (October 2013)
Bad Hersfeld (1996 and 2010) (Hessen)
Leipzig (2006) (Saxony)
Werne (2010) (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Rheinberg (2011) (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Graben (2011) (Bavaria)
Koblenz (2012) (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Pforzheim (2012) (Baden-Württemberg)
Castel San Giovanni (2011 and 2013) (Emilia-Romagna)
Slovakia: Bratislava (2011)
San Fernando de Henares (Madrid)
Bangalore (Feb 2014)
Audible.com (subsidiary) Headquarters at 1 Washington Park in Newark, New Jersey.
Zappos.com Headquarters in Las Vegas.
Woot Headquarters in Carrollton, Texas.
Closed fulfillment, warehousing and customer service locationsThese US distribution centers have been closed: SDC Seattle Distribution Center, located in Georgetown, just south of downtown Seattle; Red Rock, Nevada; Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Munster, Indiana; and McDonough, Georgia. From 2000 until February 2001, there was an Amazon customer service based in The Hague, Netherlands.