What did Amazon start?

The Amazon story

Everything began 1994 with an idea and a year later with a handful of customers. Almost 20 years later, the company has around 25 million customers in 160 countries around the world. The founder, Jeff Bezos, became1999 Voted “Man of the Year” by the news magazine “Time”. We are talking about the US company Amazon.com, which claims to be the market leader in the field of e-commerce and offers the largest selection of books, videos and CDs worldwide - and the product range has been continuously expanded to this day.
Amazon.com, Inc. was born on 1994 in Washington State by computer scientist Jeff BezosJanuary 12, 1964, founded as an online bookstore. He had previously developed the idea for an electronic bookstore with David E. Shaw, whose finance company Bezos was vice-president until shortly before Amazon was founded. Jeff Bezos' new online company was named after the heavily branched South American Amazon, which is considered to be the most water-rich river on earth and was intended to symbolize the company's desired supremacy. It was also important to Bezos that his new company started with an "A", the first letter of the alphabet. In July 1995 Jeff Bezos invited around 300 friends and acquaintances to test his new "online baby". In its first month, Amazon.com sold books to customers in all states and more45 countries worldwide. In the second month, Amazon had sales of around US $ 20,000 per week. After these surprisingly quick initial successes, Amazon opened up to the general public. As early as 1996, the young company's sales rose to $ 15.7 million and in 1997 further to $ 147.8 million after the company went public. Around 35 percent of the shares remained in the family ownership of the founder.
In 1998 Amazon founded the first country-specific websites worldwide, including in Germany. in the April 1998 the US company had bought the then leading German Internet mail order bookseller, ABC-Bücherdienst GmbH, which operated the successful website Telebuch.de through its subsidiary Telebook, Inc. and had branches in Spain, in the USA and decreed in Namibia. In October 1998 Telebuch.de was renamed Amazon.de.
Other product segments quickly followed the book division. With the integrated sales platforms “Marketplace” and the “z-Shops”, there was soon an almost unlimited portfolio. Over time, Amazon's own brands such as the eBook brand “Kindle” (2007), the furniture brand “Strathwood” or the home textiles brand “Pinzon” added to the portfolio and in 2009 the company bought the shoe retailer Zappos. In 2011, Amazon sold more electronic books than printed books for the first time, and in 2012 Amazon.com took over book-on-demand provider Booksurge.com. The company also continuously invested in the further development of customer-friendly Internet technologies: Among other things, the 1-click ordering process was patented and the “Recommendation Engine” developed.


Late 1999 sales were already around one billion US dollars. However, Amazon's losses were still $ 300 million. It wasn't until 2002 that the company made profits for the first time. When the Dot.com bubble burst at the beginning of the new millennium, things became extremely tight again for Amazon as well. For investors, this meant that after the initial ups and downs, they fell into a deep black hole for a long time. The price fluctuations expressed in numbers: In 1998 the value of a share was around 100 US dollars, in mid-1999 the value fell to 50 US dollars, only to rise again to over 100 US dollars at the end of 1999. By 2006, the value sank to just 20 US dollars. It was not until 2009 that the price rose continuously again. In 2012, sales were $ 61.1 billion and an Amazon share was worth over $ 200 in August 2013.
But over the years, Amazon made more and more negative headlines. Primarily due to dubious working conditions. The most important points of criticism: temporary working conditions, unpaid "training" and the inhumane accommodation of temporary workers as well as warnings for non-compliance with targets as an employee pressure medium. In 2013 Amazon was on strike for the first time in Germany because the group was classified as a "wage squeezer" according to the Ver.di union. The company's working hours were also denounced.
In 2013 it became known that Amazon had gained a competitive advantage over small bookstores by linking it to German libraries and, for example, took advantage of significant tax advantages with legal booking tricks and reduced its tax payments in Germany to a minimum. Practices that met with increasing displeasure, especially because the group had initially received substantial subsidies as part of economic development in Germany and now taxed its profits in Luxembourg.

The company's portfolio has also been criticized again and again: for example, protection of the constitution of the state of Brandenburg had already found in 2009 that the NPD was selling right-wing extremist propaganda material on Amazon. It had previously become known that Amazon had already distributed seditious and anti-Semitic literature in the USA. At the same time, erotic and homosexual topics were removed from the internal bestseller lists. Data protectionists complained about the possible transfer of customer data and consumer protectionists about the sale of groceries via Amazon - to name just a few of the critical issues.
Amazon had expanded so much over the years that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was able to work on5th August 2013 Acquire Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper, The Washington Post.
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