What Is Amazon?

Whenever we think of online buying of products and services, there is no doubt that there are a few names that have stood the test of time. Amazon is one such name and it is synonymous with online retailing, buying and selling of almost anything from a pin to plane. It is therefore not very surprising to learn that Amazon continues to be the largest online retailer and additionally it also is known to be a very big and renowned cloud service provider. There are a few other things interesting and informative about this giant in online retail space. It is considered to be the most valuable public company. In fact in terms of value it is perhaps even ahead of a very big brands like Apple. When one talks about the about four major horsemen of modern day technology, the name of Amazon always come to the mind. It is in the same league as that of Apple, Google, and Facebook which certainly is a big achievement. We will, in this article, try and get to know something more about Amazon and learn more about its history and also about its found Jeff Bezos and we also will look at some other relevant information.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

No article on Amazon is complete without a mention of Jeff Bezos. He is the founder, Chairman, President and CEO of Amazon. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was brought up in Houston, Texas. He completed his degree in computer science and engineering. He found the famous Amazon in 1994 when he was on a cross country road trip to Seattle from New York. He started the company as on line bookstore and then more products and services were added. The company grew steadily and added scores of new products. Today, Jeff Bezos has been instrumental in making Amazon a huge monolith and it is estimated that his net-worth should be around $137 billion. He married MacKenzie Tuttle in 1993 and they are now separated. He has four children.

History Of The Company

The company, Amazon was incorporated in 1994 and in May 1997, the company went public. It started to sell video and music in 1998. This year also saw the company move into the international arena. This was done by acquiring online booksellers in United Kingdom and Germany. From 1998 onwards, Amazon also forayed into selling of video games, home improvement items, games and toys and also they made their presence in software.

The year 2002 saw Amazon starting a company by the name Amazon Web Services and it provided information and data on web site popularity and also offered useful tips and advices on internet traffic patterns. This was very helpful for developers and marketers. It strengthened its presence in this area by coming out with EC2 or Elastic Compound Cloud and also Simple Storage Service of S3. It process of consolidation of existing business continues and so did its execution of takeovers and acquisitions of the right companies in and out of the USA. In 2012, the company purchased Kiva Systems and this helped to automate its inventory management business.

Over the years it has gone on a buying spree of dozens of companies and also has expanded its product range. One of the most exciting happenings in Amazon is perhaps the much talked about highly popular Amazon Prime. It is paid subscription service that offers the best of entertainment and other services for a cost, which is not available to others. It is becoming extremely popular for video and film streaming and also streaming of music and other entertainments. Amazon Prime was started in the year 2005 and as on 2016 it has a revenue of $6.4 billion and has more than 100 million users.

Amazon – Some Fascinating Figures

It is one of the largest and mightiest companies not only in the USA but also across the world. In 2018, the company reported a revenue of $233 billion U.S Dollars and an operating profit of around $12.42 billion. It has a total of 613,000 employees across the globe as of 2018 making it one of the largest employers of the world.

Company Culture

It would be pertinent to have a closer look at the culture that the company. The company has a mandatory practice where each employee is required to spend at least two days every year handling the customer service desk. The CEO also has to do it. This helps all employees to understand the overall customer service processes.

Some Important Tit Bits About Amazon

The company does not encourage power point presentations and rather encourages reading the subject matter from a piece of paper so that it encourages out of the box thinking rather than parroting what is available in the power point presentation.

There was a situation in 1998 when the company saw a big shortage of staff during Christmas. The company has no other option but to go in for graveyard shifts to overcome the situation. This was a lesson learned the hard way. Amazon did not want this to happen again and during Christmas and New Year the company hires almost 100,000 seasonal positions across the entire country.

How Did It Grow This Big

  • The company has not grown so big just because it waved a magic wand. The company took seven years to breakeven. It was only in January 2002 that the company reported its first profitable quarter. It made a small profit of around $5 million. Compare this with today’s profit of around USD 12 billion in 2018. You will know how big Amazon is today.
  • It is the third largest company as per Fortune Magazine.
  • It is the 10th most popular and most frequented website in the world.
  • The company could be having more 300 million active customers and accounts across the world.
  • Amazon uses robots to help in retrieving products from its warehouses. This makes the job that much easier and stress-free for the employees.
  • It has a fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona. The size is 1.2 million square feet or in other words it is equivalent to 28 football fields.
  • It is one of the few companies which have the distinction of being one of the biggest when it comes to acquisition of different companies across the globe.


In fine, there is no doubt that when we talk about Amazon we are not referring to just another big size organization. It is a movement of sorts and it is an entity that has the capacity to decide the way in which online buying and selling will move. There might be new players coming in but it is hard to believe that anybody will even come close to Amazon over the next three to four decades unless something unprecedented happens.

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