Amazon.com – Company Information

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Amazon.com is an online retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA.

It is currently the number two company in the E-commerce industry globally, after Alibaba.

Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos – in his garage in Bellevue, Washington – Amazon started off as an online bookstore catering for the increasing global demand for literature.

Bezos chose the name Amazon (the largest rainforest in the world) because he wanted to make his online store the biggest in the world.

The company was incorporated in the state of Washington in 1994 and a year later, in July 1995, it sold its first book:  Douglas Hofstadter’s “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought”.

Amazon had a unique business model in its early days, as it did not anticipate to make any profit for four or five years. This worried stockholders of the company, who claimed that the company was failing to reach profitability fast enough.

However, Amazon survived through the dot-com bubble burst at the start of the 21st Century.

Bezos expressed the importance of building a brand name and positive brand image, in order to maintain dominance in its market segment, stating that “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.”

It wasn’t until 2001 that Amazon made a profit (of $5 million). And while the the profit margin was small (on revenues of more than $1 billion) it made skeptics more confident in Bezos’ business model.

The company now boasts a customer base of more than 30 million people and has expanded its product line significantly.

Amazon is commonly quoted at the fourth most successful startup company ever by market capitalization, cultural impact, growth and revenue.

Amazon.com sells the following products: books, DVDs, Blu Rays, music CDs, software, apparel, baby products, electronics, beauty products, food, personal health products, scientific supplies, kitchen items, jewelry, garden items, musical instruments, sports products, video games, children’s toys. It is one of the leading providers of cloud computing services.

In 2007 Amazon made its entry into the e-book reader market, with the “Amazon Kindle” (a handheld screen uses E Ink technology). In 2011 it entered the tablet computer market in 2011, with its “Kindle Fire”.

Amazon.com also provides the following services: Amazon Publishing, Amazon Prime, AmazonWireless, AmazonFresh.

The company operates all over the world, its main site is targeted for US customers. However the company also has specific sites for: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Overview

amazon logo


Amazon.com Financial Results, Years Ended December 31

Income data (in millions of USD) 2014 2013
Net product sales $70,080 $60,903
Net services sales $18,908 $13,549
Total net sales $88,988 $74,452
Total operating expenses $88,810 $73,707
Income from operations $178 $745
Interest income $39 $38
Interest expense $(210) $(141)
Other income (expense), net $(118) $(136)
Total non-operating income (expense) $(289) $(239)
Income (loss) before income taxes $(111) $506
Provision for income taxes $(167) $(161)
Equity-method investment activity, net of tax $37 $(71)
Net income (loss) $(241) $274
Comprehensive income (loss) $(567) $328
Balance sheet data (in $ millions)
Total assets $54,505 $40,159
Long-term debt $8,265 $3,191
Total stockholders’ equity $10,741 $9,746
Common share data (in $)
Basic earnings (loss) per share $(0.52) $0.60
Diluted earnings (loss) per share $(0.52) $0.59
Cash flow data (in $ millions)
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities $6,842 $5,475
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities $(5,065) $(4,276)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities $4,432 $(539)
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year $8,658 $8,084
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year $14,557 $8,658

Source: Amazon.com Form 10-K 2014


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