Today, Amazon.com is known as one of the largest online retailers in the world, selling everything from clothing to children's toys and even automobile accessories. But Amazon began as a small online retailer in 1994 when founder Jeff Bezos started selling books out of his garage in Seattle. Here is a list of some of the most memorable developments in the company's history.
Amazon officially became an incorporated company in July 1994. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos started selling books out of his garage in 1995, according to the Associated Press. The first book that Bezos sold online was titled "Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought."
Amazon announced their IPO in May of 1997, and soon after the company was valued at over $430 million, according to an article on CNET. Amazon also began trading on NASDAQ under the name "AMZN."
In April 1998, Amazon.com purchased IMDB, the Internet Movie Database, for an undisclosed amount of money.
Time Magazine featured Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos as its person of the year in December 1999.
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos announced one of the company's biggest alliances in August 2000, when Amazon and Toys R Us agreed to work together to sell toys online. According to a Wall Street Journal article published in 2006, the alliance ended badly when Amazon also partnered with Target, a competitor of Toys R Us.
Amazon introduced customers to Amazon MarketPlace in November 2000. MarketPlace allows users to sell items through Amazon similar to auction sites like Ebay.
On the heels of adding several new stores to their website, Amazon launched an online clothing store in November 2002. Previous additions to the site included a toy store, office supplies store and DVD video store.
In April 2004, Amazon continued to expand their selection of products with an online jewelry store.
In February 2005, Amazon launched their Prime program, which gives subscribers free two-day shipping on almost every product on their website with no purchase minimum. Amazon would later add free streaming of video and television shows for Prime subscribers.
In July 2006, Amazon began selling food online through their Groceries and Gourmet Food store.
Amazon announced the beta version of their MP3 store in September 2007. Similar to Apple's iTunes store, shoppers on the Amazon MP3 store can digitally download individual songs or entire albums.
Jeff Bezos announced the first Kindle eReader in November 2007. Unlike the more recent Kindle Fire HD models, the original Kindle was a black and white eReader made solely for reading.
Amazon acquired the popular online shoe seller Zappos.com in November 2009, adding the retailer to the company's list of acquisitions and partnerships with Target, Toys R Us, and Timex.
Amazon Studios was launched in November 2010 as a way to create original movies and television shows with the help of viewer feedback. Amazon recently announced that they will be producing five children's show pilots based off of Amazon Studios concepts.
Amazon added free streaming videos for Prime subscribers in February 2011. The service, called Amazon Prime Instant Video, is similar to Netflix's streaming service in that it allows users to access television shows and movies via the cloud.
Amazon introduced their Cloud Drive and MP3 Cloud Player to users in March 2011. The cloud drive allows users to store their music, movie, and television downloads remotely in the cloud and access them directly from the web.
In September 2012 Amazon updated their Kindle eReader line to include several Kindle Fire HD models, which can stream movies, play games and access the Internet via Wi-Fi.
In December 2012, Amazon announced that they would be creating six original television shows based off pilots that were available for free to Amazon Prime Members. Amazon plans on introducing more original content through Amazon Studios.
In August 2013, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post for $250 million. Although The Washington Post will not be associated with Amazon, the purchase shows how far Bezos has come since he began the company in 1994.