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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The online shop was launched on July 16, 1995 by Jeff Bezos, originally selling only books, but has since extended to selling CDs, videos, DVDs, toys and games, computer software, electronic items, clothes, furniture and food.

The name was chosen because the Amazon River is one of the largest rivers in the world and so the name suggests large size, and also in part because it starts with "A" and therefore would show up near the beginning of alphabetical lists.

Bezos almost called the internet giant ‘’. If you type that address into an internet browser, it still leads you to the Amazon website.

The father of Jeff Bezos was a unicyclist in a circus.

The first book sold on was Douglas Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought. Australian software engineer John Wainwright, who was based in California, was a friend of Amazon's first employee Shal Kaphan. On April 3, 1995, he got the opportunity to place the first non-company order from for the book, which explores the mechanisms of intelligence through computer modeling. Bezos later named a building after Wainwright to honor the occasion.

One of Amazon's earliest employees brought his corgi, Rufus, to work each day. He became such a fixture that the company named a building after him and allows employees to bring their dogs to work. Amazon has over 2,000 four legged "employees", averaging nearly 600 per day.

By 2000 Amazon claimed 17 million customers in over 160 countries, and was one of the world's most visited Web sites, but had not yet made a profit. The company recorded its first net profit of $5 million in the fourth quarter of 2001 and reported profits of $359 million in 2005.

It is the world's largest online retailer, with nearly three times the Internet sales revenue of the runner up, Staples, Inc, as of January 2010.

In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization.

Jeff Bezos became the world’s richest person — for four hours — thanks to a surge in stock on July 27, 2017 which increased his worth by $1.1 billion to $90.9 billion (£69.2bn). It meant he overtook Microsoft’s Bill Gates. By noon the next day, Bezos’s stock had fallen.

The Amazon founder was back on top on October 27, 2017  after another leap in the value of his shares took his fortune to £69.9 billion.

Amazon opened its first supermarket in Seattle On January 22, 2018. Amazon Go  is without checkouts - human or self-service. It uses an array of ceiling-mounted cameras to identify each customer and track what items they select, eliminating the need for billing. Purchases are billed to customers' credit cards when they leave the store.

Almost $1 out of every $2 spent online in the US is with Amazon.

There is a giant cave bear skeleton in the lobby of Amazon's corporate office in Seattle. Naturally, the CEO, Jeff Bezos, used Amazon to purchase it.

The Amazon logo is not a smile. It is supposed to signify that they have everything from A to Z.

The Amazon "pickers" that find your order in the warehouse walk about 13 miles in one 10-hour shift.

Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, was given her name for two reasons. The hard consonant "X" allows her to recognize her name easier, and the name "Alexa" is also reminiscent of the Library of Alexandria; as the library was the "keeper of all knowledge."

Sources Wikipedia, Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2011. Helicon Publishing is division of RM. BBC

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