Amazon (AMZN) was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, first incorporating in Washington and then moving to Delaware in 1995. It is an American multinational e-commerce corporation that began as an online seller of books which quickly expanded to other forms of media such as DVDs, CDs, mp3 downloads, software and video games. After that it continued to add products under the Amazon rubric to include furniture, tools, food, clothing, toys and pretty much anything else one can think of. Today Amazon.com is the biggest online retailer with annual revenue topping $48US billion in 2011. It has websites operating in 9 countries currently with plans to expand into more markets through time.\r\n\r\nThe Amazon stock price went public in 1997 with a long-term growth plan to profitability which did not happen until 2001. The IPO price was $18 ($1.50 after accounting for splits) and currently trades at more than $180 per share. Amazon stock price is overlooked by many as the company still operates on very thin margins pouring profits back into expansion efforts in other markets and products.\r\n\r\nBezos started the company with the idea of minimizing his regret over not being a part of the massive growth of the internet. It is named after the Amazon River, the largest in the world, as a metaphor for what the company was to grow into.\r\n\r\nAmazon has hosted e-commerce for other major brands at times in the past, including Toys-R-Us, Target, CDNOW, and Borders. It has moved into the cloud computing space as well, with Data Center, through Amazon Web Services, hosting a substantial part of its business, giving businesses a turn-key solution for data storage. \r\n\r\nAmazon has also moved aggressively into the publishing business, both in support of its Kindle e-reader as well as through the acquisition of Createspace and other tools for authors to produce, distribute and profit from their work, breaking down the monolithic and aging traditional publishing system. \r\n\r\nSome of Amazon’s other services include Amazon Prime, for which members get 2-day free shipping, 5GB of storage space and digital download access, similar to Netflix, for a back catalog of movies and TV. \r\n\r\nBut, it is the Kindle and its latest incarnation, the Kindle Fire tablet PC, that is at the heart of Amazon’s latest strategy. The Kindle has been a phenomenally successful product creating a new business entirely in e-books. In December 2010, e-book sales accounted for more of Amazon’s business than hardcopy books. Kindle Direct Publishing exists to help authors self-publish and enjoy substantial royalties from their work. While numbers on Kindle sales have been hard to come by, in September 2011 Amazon said that they were selling more than 1 million Kindles per week which. Eventually this product should help put a base under Amazon’s stock price.
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