Amazon Company History Timeline
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.
On July 16, 1995, Amazon officially opens for business as an online bookseller.
When Amazon.com went live to the general public in July 1995, the company boldly billed itself as “Earth’s biggest bookstore,” although sales initially were drummed up solely by word of mouth and Bezos assisted with assembling orders and driving the packages to the post office.
In October 1995, the company announced itself to the public.
Established in July 1996, the program allowed individuals with their own web sites to choose books of interest and place them on their own sites, then allowed visitors to purchase those books.
By December of 1996, the company's customer base had grown to an impressive 180,000.
After its first full year of selling books in 1996, book publishers praised the new service as a great way to help them clear their backlists of slow-selling books.
In 1996, it was reincorporated in Delaware.
Barnes & Noble sued Amazon on May 12, 1997, alleging that Amazon’s claim to be “the world’s largest bookstore” was false.
The music store opened in June 1998, with over 125,000 music titles available.
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.
Further Expansion in 1998
As Amazon.com ventured into 1998, the company continued to grow.
Another big change in 1998 was the announcement of the company's decision to enter into the online music business.
By 1998, Amazon's revenues had reached an impressive $600 million.
Music and video sales started in 1998.
By December 1999, Amazon had shipped 20 million items to 150 countries around the globe.
Growth Continues: 1999 and Beyond
In 1999, Bezos reached the upper echelon of the corporate world when Time magazine honored him with its prestigious "Person of the Year" award.
In 1999, it launched an online auction service entitled Amazon Auctions.
Amazon.com’s success propelled its founder to become Time magazine’s 1999 Person of the Year.
By 1999 the company was also selling consumer electronics, video games, software, home-improvement items, toys and games, and much more.
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.
In 2000, the company introduced a service allowing individual sellers and other outside merchants to peddle their products alongside Amazon’s own items.
In the fourth quarter of 2002 however, the firm secured a quarterly net profit of $3 million--the second net profit in its history.
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 the year 2003 Amazon.com acquired the online music retailer CD Now.
Meanwhile, Amazon continued to spend heavily on expansion and didn’t post its first full-year profit until 2003.
Other interesting developments for Amazon.com in 2004 were the introduction of the toolbar within the search engine, the launching of Amazon theatre, the opening of a software development center in Scotland, the launching of the Paris Hilton jewelry line.
May other sales achievements were reached this year with Amazon reporting that in 2005 they had orders which totaled more than 100 million items sold.
Amazon, or more correctly Amazon.com, was first incorporated by Jeff Bezos in July of 2005.
2005 also held many new advancements, additions and acquisitions for Amazon.com MobiPocket.com, CreateSpace.com and BookSurge were all acquired by Amazon.com in 2005.
Product lines such as Amazon Wedding were launched in 2005 and the fulfillment agreement was reached with Drugstore.com.
In 2006 Amazon also launched their Print on Demand program as well as their online grocery store.
In 2006 Amazon acquired Shopbop, as clothing site based out of Wisconsin.
Other interesting developments which occurred in 2006 are the creation of the media gateway program and the new unbox program which allows uses to digitally download high quality videos.
In 2006 the company expanded its AWS portfolio with its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which rents out computer processing power in small or large increments.
In 2006, it grew its AWS portfolio when Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which rented computer processing power, provided Simple Storage Service (S3), and rented data storage via the Internet, also became available.
In 2007 Endless.com was launched which provided a large array of handbags and designer shoes featuring free shipping on all products.
2007 saw the unveiling of the first Kindle e-readers.
In 2007 Amazon.com began to sell its own Kindle e-readers, which helped energize the e-book market.
In 2008 Amazon.com purchased Audible.com for $300 million.
The web services department of Amazon.com launched the release of Amazon EC2 for windows in 2008 as well and also introduced Public Data sets for AWS. Another noteworthy event which occurred in 2008 was the daily sending of SMS messages announcing the daily deals.
Other 2008 acquisitions include AbeBooks.com, BoxOfficeMojo.com, Shelfari.com, Reflexive Entertainment and BookFinder.com.
The textbook trade in program was also begun in 2009 and the inauguration store was launched.
Over the years it has acquired or invested in many online retailers, such as the shoe seller Zappos, which it purchased for $847 million in 2009.
In 2009 the company introduced its first publishing line, AmazonEncore, dedicated to popular self-published and out-of-print books.
Amazon made numerous acquisitions in 2010 such as Woot.com, Quidsi.com, BuyVIP.com, Touchco.com and Amie Street.
Other developments in 2010 include the announcement of the Amazon deals App, Amazon cloud Player, Amazon cloud drive, Cloud player for Android and the Amazon Application store for Android.
By 2010 the rift between book publishers and Amazon.com over the price of e-books had grown.
By 2011 more Kindle books were sold by Amazon than traditional printed books.
2011 brought great strides for Amazon.com with quarterly sales up by more then 40% ($10 billion). Due to the growth of Kindle book sales Amazon also introduced the Kindle Owners lending library as well.
In 2011 its e-book ambitions led to the launch of Amazon Publishing with the intent to develop and publish its own titles.
Instead, Borders filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 and has since closed hundreds of stores.
Also in 2011, Amazon’s tablet computer, the Kindle Fire, was released.
Game Circle and Game Connect were also introduced in 2012 as well as the launching of an original comedy series and childrenâ€™s series which is to be available to consumers through the Amazon instant video service.
These relatively low-cost handheld tablets would invigorate the e-book market, and by 2012 the Kindle would constitute around 50% of all Android-operated tablet sales.
In 2012, Amazon bought Kiva Systems to automate its inventory management business.
After unveiling its first smart speaker in 2014 to select customers, Amazon puts the Echo in 3,000 stores nationwide just in time for the holiday season.
In 2017 Amazon.com announced that it had agreed to buy the supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, Inc., in a deal valued at more than $13 billion.
Amazon would later sue Barnes & Noble for infringement, forcing other websites to license the technology until the patent expired in 2017.
In 2017, Bezos was named the richest man in the world.
That year, Amazon also started Fulfillment by Amazon which allowed individuals and small companies to sell items through the company's Internet site. It purchased the Whole Foods Market supermarket chain in 2017.
As of 2018, it only had 0.7% of online sales, trailing far behind Alibaba's 58.2%, according to eMarketer.
Hiring begins in 2019.
On February 2, 2021, Amazon announced that Jeff Bezos would step down as CEO to become Executive Chair of Amazon's board in Q3 of 2021.
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