The company was launched by founder Jeff Bezos in 1994 as an online bookstore, but it has since ballooned into the world's largest e-commerce company that sells virtually everything, including electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and much more.
In addition to e-commerce, Amazon's revenue comes from subscription services, cloud computing services, Whole Foods grocery sales, and other areas. It also builds and sells its own consumer electronics, such as the Amazon Kindle and Amazon Echo. Amazon Web Services is the world's largest seller of cloud computing services. The company's entertainment-streaming service also produces its own movies and TV shows, and Amazon Music provides access to millions of songs.
More on Amazon (AMZN)
- Latest Amazon Earnings Release
- How Amazon Makes Money
- Companies Owned by Amazon
- Top Amazon Shareholders
Amazon's Latest Developments
- On Sept. 8, 2021 Amazon announced that in 2022 it will be opening two Whole Foods stores that will have the option for customers pay by a contactless self-checkout system. Amazon says the system will allow users to walk in, pick up the products they want and then walk out of the store, after having scanned a QR code, payment card, or Amazon One palm scan to enter the store. Normal self-checkout using cash or other payment methods will also be available.
- On Sept. 1, 2021, Amazon announced that it was hiring more than 40,000 new tech and corporate employees around the U.S., in addition to "tens of thousands of hourly positions," in "Amazon’s Operations network."
- On August 19, 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is planning to open multiple large brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S.
- On August 13, 2021, U.S. Senators, Amy Klobuchar, Jon Ossoff, and Bill Cassidy, two Democrats and a Republican, sent a letter to Amazon's CEO Andrew Jassey asking a series of questions about Amazon's collection of biometric data. The request for information comes after Amazon started a promotion that offered customers $10 in Amazon store credit in exchange for enrolling in Amazon One, in which customers give Amazon a scan of their palm so that they can pay using palm scanners instead of a credit or debit card.
- On August 2, 2021 an officer from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made a recommendation that the NLRB throw out the results of the vote held in Bessemer, Alabama by Amazon warehouse workers earlier this year on whether to unionize on the grounds that Amazon attempted to illegally interfere with the election. If the regional director of the NLRB agrees with the recommendation, there may be another vote.
- On July 29, 2021, Amazon released its earnings report for Q2 FY 2021. It reported substantially higher-than-expected profits, but somewhat lower-than-expected revenues for the quarter. Revenues from its high-margin AWS business exceeded expectations.
- On July 14, 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed a suit against Amazon trying to force it to recall hundreds of thousands of potentially dangerous products. The agency says that these products, which include hair dryers which could electrocute users if they're dropped in water and defective carbon monoxide detectors. Amazon has said that it removed the majority of the products from the website, sent emails notifying customers of the issues, and gave refunds for the products. The CPSC is asking Amazon to, among other things, ensure the products are returned and destroyed at no cost to customers and issue a public press release about the danger of the products.
- On July 5, 2021, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO in favor of Andrew Jassey, who had served as the CEO of AWS.
- According to reporting by "The Information" the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into Amazon's currently ongoing attempt to acquire MGM Studios. The probe is expected to last several months at least.
- On June 30, 2021, Amazon sent a 25 page petition to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking the new FTC chair, Lina Khan, to recuse herself from any FTC rulings on the company. Amazon argued that because Khan has criticized Amazon so often, that "she no longer can consider the company’s antitrust defenses with an open mind."
- On May 26, 2021, Amazon announced it would purchase MGM Studios for $8.5 billion, including debt, or $6.5 billion excluding debt. The purchase of the movie studio, which owns intellectual properties such as the James Bond and Rambo franchises, is meant to help Amazon's own streaming service, Prime Video, compete in the increasingly fierce streaming market.
- On May 12, 2021, the EU's second-highest court overturned a 2017 order by the European Commission to pay Luxembourg $300 million in taxes. The Commission had argued that Amazon had structured its European operations in a way to improperly understate its earnings by paying royalties to an untaxed holding company in Luxembourg. The court ruled that the European Commission's analysis was flawed and did not prove that Amazon violated the law.
- As of April 9, 2021, 80% of the ballots in the Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse union vote have been counted and 71% of the voters were against against forming a union. While the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hasn't certified a winner or finished counting contested ballots, it did note that the remaining ballots were not enough to exceed the existing margin against unionization.
- On March 17, 2021, Amazon announced that it was expanding its Amazon Care telehealth service, currently available to its employees in Washington state, to other employers across the state. It will be expanded to be accessible to all Amazon employees this summer and to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and other cities in the coming months. Amazon Care was launched in 2019 as a pilot program for Amazon employees in Washington state.