1994-07-05 to Present
Washington, U.S.Amazon.com, Inc., is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington. Amazon focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies, along with Google, Apple, and Facebook. It has been referred to as "one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world" as well as the world's most valuable brand.
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.
In 1999, Amazon first attempted to enter the publishing business by buying a defunct imprint, "Weathervane", and publishing some books "selected with no apparent thought", according to The New Yorker. The imprint quickly vanished again, and as of 2014 Amazon representatives said that they had never heard of it.
In 2002, the corporation started Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provided data on Web site popularity, Internet traffic patterns and other statistics for marketers and developers. In 2006, the organization grew its AWS portfolio when Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which rents computer processing power as well as Simple Storage Service (S3), that rents data storage via the Internet, were made available. That same year, the company started Fulfillment by Amazon which managed the inventory of individuals and small companies selling their belongings through the company internet site.
On 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.
The Department of Justice files suit against Apple Inc and five major publishing houses (the "Big Five"), alleging that they colluded in 2010 to raise the price of ebooks (using the agency pricing model that gives publishers full control over ebook prices).
In 2013, Amazon secured a US$600 million contract with the CIA, which poses a potential conflict of interest involving the Bezos-owned The Washington Post and his newspaper's coverage of the CIA. Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said, "It's a serious potential conflict of interest for a major newspaper like The Washington Post to have a contractual relationship with the government and the most secret part of the government." This was later followed by a US$10 billion contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.
In 2014, Amazon launched the Fire Phone. The Fire Phone was meant to deliver media streaming options but the venture failed, resulting in Amazon registering a $170 million loss. This would also lead to the Fire Phone production being stopped the following year. In August of the same year, Amazon would finalize the acquisition of Twitch, a social video gaming streaming site for $970 million. This new acquisition would be integrated into the game production division of Amazon.
Amazon unveils Amazon Echo, a wireless speaker and voice command device that can take commands and queries, and be used to add items to the Amazon.com shopping cart, among other things. The Alexa Voice Service that is built into Amazon Echo can also be added to other Amazon devices.
Amazon launches Amazon Underground, an Android app through which users can get gaming and other apps for free that they would otherwise have to pay for, and also get in-app purchases for free. App creator participation is voluntary. App creators are paid $0.002 for every minute a user spends in the app.
Amazon opened its first physical retail store, a bookstore in the University Village shopping center in Seattle. The store, known as Amazon Books, has prices matched to those found on the Amazon website and integrate online reviews into the store's shelves.
Amazon Prime Air (Amazon's drone-based delivery system) makes its first delivery in Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The successful delivery is announced a week later, on December 14, along with video.
Souq.com is the largest E-Commerce platform in the Middle East based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On March 28, 2017, Amazon confirmed it would be acquiring Souq.com for $580 million. Souq.com is now a subsidiary of Amazon, and acts as Amazon's arm into the Middle East region.
According to an August 8, 2018 story in Bloomberg Businessweek, Amazon has about a 5 percent share of US retail spending (excluding cars and car parts and visits to restaurants and bars), and a 43.5 share of American online spending in 2018. The forecast is for Amazon to own 49 percent of the total American online spending in 2018, with two-thirds of Amazon's revenue coming from the US.
Amazon announced to debut the Amazon 4-star in New York, Soho neighborhood Spring Street between Crosby and Lafayette on 27 September 2018. The store carries the 4-star and above rated products from around New York.
In November 2018, Amazon announced it would open its highly sought-after new headquarters, known as (HQ2) in Long Island City, Queens, New York City, and in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia.
On February 14, 2019, Amazon announced it was not moving forward with plans to build HQ2 in Queens but would instead focus solely on the Arlington location. The company plans to locate at least 25,000 employees at HQ2 by 2030 and will invest more than US$2.5 billion to establish its new headquarters in Crystal City as well as neighboring Pentagon City and Potomac Yard, an area jointly marketed as "National Landing." The announcement also created a new partnership with Virginia Tech to develop a revolutionary Innovation Campus to fill demand for high-tech talent in National Landing and beyond.
At the end of March 2020, some workers of the Staten Island warehouse staged a walkout in protest the poor health situation at their workplace amidst the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. One of the organizers, Chris Smalls, was first put on quarantine without anybody else being quarantined, and soon afterwards fired from the company.
The SUD (trade unions) brought a court case against Amazon for unsafe working conditions. This resulted in a French district court (Nanterre) ruling on April 15, 2020, ordering the company to limit its deliveries to food and essential medical or hygienic products or pay a €1 million per day fine. Amazon said it would appeal, and on the following day shut its six French warehouses until at least April 21, 2020, for evaluation of the situation.
On June 11, 2020, the European Union announced that it will be pressing charges against Amazon over its treatment of third-party e-commerce sellers.
In July 2020, Amazon along with other tech giants Apple, Google and Facebook were accused of maintaining harmful power and anti-competitive strategies to quash potential competitors in the market. The CEOs of respective firms appeared in a teleconference on July 29, 2020 before the lawmakers of the U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee.
On August 10, 2020, Amazon announced the rebranding Twitch Prime, the live-streaming site, in another attempt to crack the video game market after failing a big-budget game effort. With Twitch Prime, users will be given a free subscription to Twitch, with free games from small studios and discounts for larger titles like Grand Theft Auto and League of Legends.