Jeff Bezos’ hunch was correct. By September 1996 orders were flooding the website, the company grew to more than 100 employees, and sales reached $15 million. By 1999 Amazon had more than 3,000 employees and sales grew to $610 million. Within a few years, Amazon.com ventured into music sale and gifts. With the purchase of Drugs.com in January of 1999, Amazon ventured into the online pharmacy market. By June the company joined the online auction market in a joint venture with Sothesby. A month later, Amazon began selling toys and consumer electronics.
With its Prime membership program, consumers received discounts, as well as free shipping. In 2006 Amazon.com started offering an On Demand video service providing consumers the ability to stream thousands of movies and television shows (many of them free to Prime members) to television sets and Internet-ready devices.
In 2006 Amazon also started offering cloud computer services called Amazon Web Services. Its customers include numerous companies, including competitor Netflix,
and several government agencies, including the CIA! In 2007 Amazon began selling the Kindle e-reader. Similar to other tablets, Kindle devices allow consumers to purchase, download, read, and search e-books. Kindle also offers direct publishing services for self-published authors. In 2013 Amazon began developing its own original series, such as Alpha House and Man in the High Castle.
In 2015 Amazon released Echo, a streaming speaker with cloud capability and natural voice command. Echo can play music, order products, and control smart home products, such as turning lights on and controlling the home thermostat, all with natural voice commands. Echo’s open-ended development means that as developers create new applications, Echo’s functionality will continue to grow. Amazon’s most recent venture? Amazon Fresh grocery delivery. One may be wondering if there is anything that Amazon doesn’t sell. According to Jeff, the answer is no.
Today, Amazon.com is a true Internet superstore and the largest e-commerce company in the world. In fact, it’s the world’s largest retailer in both the online and offline world. It’s hard to think of any industry that Amazon doesn’t have a stake in, product it doesn’t sell, or service it doesn’t provide, which is why Amazon.com is often called the modern-day Sears-Roebuck.
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