amazon, Inc. is an American international electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. 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 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.

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

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 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, "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 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 re-assignment of the former Walmart executives.

Merchant partnerships
Until June 30, 2006, typing into a browser would bring up'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. operates retail websites for Sears Canada, bebe Stores, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, and Lacoste. For a growing number of enterprise clients, currently including the UK merchants Marks & Spencer, Benefit Cosmetics' UK entity,, 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 Shop@AOL.

On October 18, 2011, 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, 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.

Amazon has offices, fulfillment centers, warehouses, customer service centers and software development centers across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

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 centers
While 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.

Fulfillment and warehousing
Fulfillment centers are located in 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.

Products and services
Retail goods
Amazon product lines include media - books, DVDs, music CDs, software, videotapes, and software - apparel, baby products, consumer electronics, beauty products, gourmet food, groceries, health and personal-care items, industrial & scientific supplies, kitchen items, jewelry and watches, lawn and garden items, musical instruments, sporting goods, tools, and toys & games.

The company launched Auctions, a web auctions service, in March 1999. However, it failed to chip away at the large market share of the industry pioneer, eBay. Later, the company launched a fixed-price marketplace business, zShops, in September 1999, and the now defunct partnership with Sotheby's, called, in November. Auctions and zShops evolved into Amazon Marketplace, a service launched in November 2000 that let customers sell used books, CDs, DVDs, and other products alongside new items.

In August 2007, Amazon announced AmazonFresh, a grocery service offering perishable and nonperishable foods. Customers can have orders delivered to their homes at dawn or during a specified daytime window. Delivery was initially restricted to residents of Mercer Island, Washington, and was later expanded to several ZIP codes in Seattle proper. AmazonFresh also operated pick-up locations in the suburbs of Bellevue and Kirkland from summer 2007 through early 2008.

In 2012, Amazon announced the launch of for buying green products, including groceries, household items, and apparel. It is part of Quidsi, the company that Amazon bought in 2010 that also runs the sites (baby), (pets), and (toys). Amazon also owns other e-commerce sites like,, and

Amazon's Subscribe & Save program offers a discounted price on an item (usually sold in bulk), free shipping on every Subscribe & Save shipment, and automatic shipment of the item every one, two, three, or six months. In 2013, Amazon launched its site in India, It has started with electronic goods and plans to expand into fashion apparel, beauty, home essentials, and healthcare categories by the end of 2013.
Consumer electronics
In November 2007, Amazon launched Amazon Kindle, an e-book reader which downloads content over "Whispernet", via Sprint's EV-DO wireless network. The screen uses E Ink technology to reduce battery consumption and to provide a more legible display.

In September 2011, Amazon announced its entry into the tablet computer market by introducing the Kindle Fire, which runs a customized version of the operating system Android. The exceedingly low pricing of Fire was widely perceived as a strategy backed by Amazon's revenue from its content sales, to be stimulated by sales of the Fire.

In September 2012, Amazon unveiled the second generation tablet, called the Kindle Fire HD. On September 25, 2013, unveiled its third generation tablet, called Kindle Fire HDX. In October 2013, the sixth generation Kindle was released.

Digital content
Amazon's Honor System was launched in 2001 to allow customers to make donations or buy digital content, with Amazon collecting a percentage of the payment plus a fee; however, the service was discontinued in 2008 and replaced by Amazon Payments.

Amazon MP3, its own online music store, launched in the US on September 25, 2007, selling downloads exclusively in MP3 format without digital rights management. (In addition to copyright law, Amazon's terms of use agreements restrict use of the MP3s, but Amazon does not use digital rights management (DRM) to enforce those terms.) In addition to independent music labels, Amazon MP3 primarily sells music from the "Big 4" record labels: EMI, Universal, Warner Bros. Records, and Sony Music. Prior to the launch of this service, Amazon made an investment in Amie Street, a music store with a variable pricing model based on demand. Amazon MP3 was the first online offering of DRM-free music from all four major record companies.

In January 2008, Amazon began distributing its MP3 service to subsidiary websites worldwide and, in December 2008, Amazon MP3 was made available in the UK. At the launch of Amazon MP3 in the UK, over 3 million Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free songs were made available to consumers, with prices that started at 59p, compared to Apple's 79p starting price.

In July 2010, Amazon announced that e-book sales for its Kindle reader outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time ever during the second quarter of 2010. Amazon claims that, during that period, 143 e-books were sold for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there is no digital edition; and during late June and early July, sales rose to 180 digital books for every 100 hardcovers.

On March 22, 2011, Amazon launched the Amazon Appstore for Android devices and the service was made available in over 200 countries. Also in 2011, Amazon announced that it was releasing a Mac download store to offer dozens of games and hundreds of pieces of software for Apple computers.

In January 2013, Amazon launched AutoRip, a digital music service. The service allows customers to receive a free MP3 copy of select CDs purchased through Amazon.[147] Amazon announced in September 2013 that they would launch Kindle MatchBook in October 2013, a similar service for books allowing customers who buy books from Amazon to acquire an e-book copy for free, or at a discounted price of US$3 or less. MatchBook was launched on the company's site on October 29, 2013.

Amazon Games
In August 2012, Amazon announced it would be adding a gaming department to its company titled Amazon Game Studios. Amazon stated that they will introduce "innovative, fun and well-crafted games" to consumers. According to the Amazon Game Studios website, the last game that was launched by the department was Amazon's first ever mobile game Air Patriots, released on November 1, 2012.

On February 6, 2014, Amazon confirmed the acquisition of the gaming company Double Helix Games without any indication of the financial terms. The 75 Double Helix employees will become Amazon employees and their Orange County, California headquarters remain their operating base. Amazon informed the TechCrunch media company that it "acquired Double Helix as part of our(Amazon's) ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers" and confirmed that Double Helix's current game roster and other future developments will receive support following the acquisition.

Amazon Art
In August 2013 Amazon launched Amazon Art as an online marketplace selling original and limited edition fine art from selected galleries. The initial 40000 items listed for sale included Norman Rockwell's painting "Willie Gillis: Package from Home" priced at $4.85 million, "L'Enfant a la tasse" by Claude Monet for $1.45 million and Andy Warhol's "Sachiko" for $45 000.

Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is a service of free two-day shipping on all eligible purchases, for a flat annual fee, as well as discounted one-day shipping rates. Amazon launched the program in the contiguous United States in 2005, in Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany in 2007, in France (as "Amazon Premium") in 2008, in Italy in 2011 and in Canada in 2013.

Amazon Prime membership in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany also provides Amazon Instant Video, the instant streaming of selected movies and TV shows at no additional cost. In November 2011, it was announced that Prime members have access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which allows users to borrow certain popular titles for free reading on Kindle hardware, up to one book a month, with no due date.

In March 2014, Amazon announced an increase in the annual membership fee for Amazon Prime, from $79 to $99.

Private labels and exclusive marketing arrangements
In August 2005, Amazon began selling products under its own private label, "Pinzon"; the trademark applications indicated that the label would be used for textiles, kitchen utensils, and other household goods. In March 2007, the company applied to expand the trademark to cover a more diverse list of goods and to register a new design consisting of the "word PINZON in stylized letters with a notched letter "O" which appears at the "one o'clock" position". Coverage by the trademark grew to include items such as paints, carpets, wallpaper, hair accessories, clothing, footwear, headgear, cleaning products, and jewelry. In September 2008, Amazon filed to have the name registered. USPTO has finished its review of the application, but Amazon has yet to receive an official registration for the name.

AmazonBasics is a private-label consumer electronics product line. It sells AV cables, blank DVD media and other electronics products under the AmazonBasics product label. The line was launched in 2009.

An exclusive is a product, usually a DVD, that is available exclusively on Some DVDs are produced by the owner of the film/product, while others are produced by itself. The DVDs produced by Amazon are made using their "CreateSpace" program, in which DVDs are created, upon ordering, using DVD-R technology. The DVDs are then shipped about two days later. Some DVDs (such as the Jersey Shore Season 1 or The Unusuals Season 1) first release their DVD on Amazon as an Exclusive for a limited time before being released elsewhere. On May 23, 2011, allowed customers to download Lady Gaga's Born This Way album for $0.99, resulting in some downloads being delayed, due to an extremely high volume of downloads.

Amazon self publishing services through one of its companies, CreateSpace, a member of the Amazon group of companies.

Computing services
Amazon launched Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2002, which provides programmatic access to latent features on its website. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was first launched as a public beta of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud running Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server. This was later expanded to several operating systems, including various flavors of Linux and OpenSolaris.

In November 2005, began testing Amazon Mechanical Turk, an application programming interface (API) allowing programs to dispatch tasks to human processors.

In March 2006, Amazon launched an online storage service called Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). An unlimited number of data objects, from 1 byte to 5 terabytes in size, can be stored in S3 and distributed via HTTP or BitTorrent. The service charges monthly fees for data stored and transferred. In 2006, Amazon introduced Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), a distributed queue messaging service, and product wikis (later folded into Amapedia) and discussion forums for certain products using guidelines that follow standard message board conventions. Also in 2006, Amazon introduced Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a virtual site farm, allowing users to use the Amazon infrastructure to run applications ranging from running simulations to web hosting. In 2008, Amazon improved the service by adding Elastic Block Store (EBS), offering persistent storage for Amazon EC2 instances and Elastic IP addresses, and offering static IP addresses designed for dynamic cloud computing. Amazon introduced SimpleDB, a database system, allowing users of its other infrastructure to utilize a high-reliability, high-performance database system.

Amazon continues to refine and add services to AWS, adding such services as Scalable DNS service (Amazon Route 53), payment handling, and AWS specific APIs for their Mechanical Turk service.

In August 2012, Amazon announced Amazon Glacier, a low-cost online file storage web service that provides reliable data archiving, storage, and backup.

In November 2012 at AWS' web developer conference in Las Vegas it announced it was targeting large companies as cloud storage clients. It will further cut its S3 prices to customers with long-term contracts in its "Redshift" storage service launching in 2013.

In March 2013 Amazon announced its Mobile Ads API for developers. The new Ads API can be used on apps distributed on any Android platform as long as the app is also available on Amazon's Appstore.

Content production
Amazon Publishing is Amazon's publishing unit. It is composed of AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, 47 North, and Powered by Amazon. Additional imprints are planned.

Launched in 2005, Amazon Shorts offered exclusive short stories and non-fiction pieces from best-selling authors for immediate download. By June 2007, the program had over 1,700 pieces and was adding about 50 new pieces per week. The program was discontinued on June 1, 2010.

In 2008, Amazon expanded into film production, producing the film The Stolen Child with 20th Century Fox.

Amazon also created "channels" to benefit certain causes. In 2004, Amazon allowed customers to donate $5 to $200 to the campaigns of 2004 US presidential hopefuls, providing links that raised $300,000 for the candidates. Amazon has periodically reactivated a Red Cross donation channel after crises such as Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean. By January 2005, nearly 200,000 people had donated over $15.7 million in the US.

Amazon Local
Amazon Local is a daily deal service launched in June 2011 in Boise, Idaho. As of 2013, Amazon Local offers daily deals to over 100 regions in 36 U.S. states. Amazon Local also acts as a deal aggregator; some of the deals are actually offered through LivingSocial, a firm in which Amazon has heavily invested.

In July 2009, launched their AmazonWireless website, which offers cellular devices and service plans for Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile in the US.

Amazon Prime Air
60 Minutes announced on December 1, 2013 that Amazon Prime Air is a possible future delivery service expected to be many more years in development. In concept, the process would use drones to deliver small packages (less than five pounds) within 30 minutes by flying short distances (10-20 km) from local Amazon Fulfillment Centers. The project will require the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to approve commercial use of unmanned drones. Although such approval could be in place as early as 2015, the project is still expected to be a few years off.

Other services
In 2007, Amazon launched Amapedia, a now-defunct wiki for user-generated content to replace ProductWiki, and the video on demand service Amazon Unbox.

IMDb and Amazon launched a website called SoundUnwound for browsing music metadata with wiki-like user contribution in September 2007; this data was also used for Amazon's Artist Pages. Soundunwound ceased existence on June 18, 2012, and the site redirected to Amazon.

Amazon Connect enables authors to post remarks on their book pages to customers.

Amazon Webstore allows businesses to create custom e-commerce websites using Amazon technology. Sellers pay a commission of 1-2%, plus credit-card processing fees and fraud protection, and a subscription fee which ranges from $0 to $39.99 per month depending on the bundle option for an unlimited number of listings. Amazon has chosen very few companies to become their implementation solution provider, and they are 4C Media, Absolute Webstores, atmosol, eCatalog, Explore Consulting, GoWebBaby, Kaushalam, KLoc Technologies, Luxor Design, SynapseIndia, and V Group. These companies ecourages traders to have their own webstore with easy guidance and solutions.

Source: Wikipedia