Amazon company; profile, history and prime membership

Amazon company is an American multinational technology company focusing on cloud computing,  e-commerce, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence, online advertising. It has been often referred to as “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world”, and is often regarded as one of the world’s most valuable brands. It is considered to be one of the Big Five American technology companies, alongside Alphabet (parent company of Google), Apple, Meta and Microsoft. Amazon history is later discussed in this article.

AMAZON COMPANY PROFILE

Amazon.com Inc (Amazon) is an online retailer and web service provider. The company provides products such as apparel, auto and industrial items, beauty and health products, electronics, grocery, games, jewelry, kids and baby products, music, sports goods, toys, and tools. It also offers related support services including home delivery and shipping, cloud web hosting and other web related services. Amazon merchandises its products through company-owned online and physical platforms. It also manufactures and commercializes various electric devices such as Kindle e-readers, fire tablets, fire TVs, echo, Alexa and other devices. The company allows authors, musicians, filmmakers, and others to publish and sell content. Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the US.

HISTORY OF AMAZON

In 1994 Jeff Bezos, a former Wall Street hedge fund executive, incorporated Amazon.com, choosing the name primarily because it began with the first letter of the alphabet and because of its association with the vast South American river. On the basis of research he had conducted, Bezos concluded that books would be the most logical product initially to sell online. Amazon.com was not the first company to do so; Computer Literacy, a Silicon Valley bookstore, began selling books from its inventory to its technically astute customers in 1991. However, the promise of Amazon.com was to deliver any book to any reader anywhere.

Jeff Bezos Founder of Amazon

Within a year of its launch, Amazon diversified its offerings beyond books to include music and videos. The company’s innovative “1-Click” ordering system and customer-centric approach contributed to its rapid growth. In 1997, Amazon went public, and its initial public offering (IPO) marked the start of its transformation into an e-commerce giant.

Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Amazon expanded its product categories, entering markets such as electronics, toys, clothing, and more. The introduction of Amazon Prime in 2005, offering subscribers fast shipping and access to streaming media, further solidified the company’s status as a customer-focused powerhouse.

Amazon’s innovation extended beyond e-commerce. In 2007, it launched the Kindle e-reader, revolutionizing the publishing industry and paving the way for the widespread adoption of digital books. This move into hardware signaled Amazon’s broader ambitions beyond just online retail.

The company’s growth wasn’t limited to the United States; it expanded internationally, establishing marketplaces in Europe, Asia, and other regions. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched in 2006, providing cloud computing and storage services to businesses and developers, eventually becoming a significant driver of the company’s profits.

In 2014, Amazon made a bold move into the consumer electronics market with the unveiling of the Amazon Echo, powered by the voice-controlled virtual assistant Alexa. This marked the beginning of Amazon’s entry into the smart home and artificial intelligence space, setting the stage for its future endeavors.

Acquisitions also played a pivotal role in Amazon’s expansion. The purchase of Whole Foods Market in 2017 signaled the company’s intention to enter the grocery industry and explore the intersection of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail.

While Amazon.com famously started as a bookseller, Bezos contended from its start that the site was not merely a retailer of consumer products. He argued that Amazon.com was a technology company whose business was simplifying online transactions for consumers.

Amazon continued to diversify its portfolio, venturing into original content production with Amazon Studios, launching its own line of consumer electronics, and experimenting with drone delivery through Prime Air. The company’s presence in logistics and distribution expanded with the establishment of its own delivery network.

By 2021, Amazon had become one of the world’s largest companies, spanning multiple industries, from e-commerce and cloud services to entertainment and artificial intelligence. Its influence extended to shaping consumer behavior, technological innovation, and even urban development.

However, Amazon’s size and impact also raised concerns about its market power, labor practices, and influence on various sectors. Its history showcased a blend of entrepreneurial spirit, customer obsession, and disruptive innovation that left an indelible mark on the business world, shaping the modern digital economy in profound ways.

AMAZON PRIME MEMBERSHIP

Amazon Prime is Amazon’s paid loyalty program, which originally launched in 2005. It’s available in various countries and gives members access to perks across shopping, streaming, entertainment and more.

A Prime membership costs $15 a month, or you can pay $139 annually. The yearly Prime membership includes a 30-day free trial for new members.

Amazon company also offers two discounted Prime memberships: Prime Student and an option for those who qualify for certain types of government assistance programs.

The Prime Student membership costs $69 a year. It typically comes with exclusive offers like discounts on Amazon Music Unlimited and textbooks. A free monthly Grubhub+ Student membership with unlimited delivery and up to 10% off flights and hotels through StudentUniverse is also included. Students can get a six-month free trial before they have to start paying for their Prime membership. To purchase a student membership, you’ll need a valid .edu email address.

For those who qualify for certain types of government assistance programs, like EBT and Medicaid, Amazon company offers a discounted Prime membership that’s about half the price of a standard one. The discounted option is $7 a month and you have to verify your qualification every 12 months. Members get the same benefits as those who pay the standard Prime membership rate. If you’re currently paying full price for a Prime account but qualify for the discounted rate, you can apply online by selecting a verification method. Once approved, your membership automatically switches over. Amazon also accepts SNAP EBT for eligible groceries and free shipping options are available.

Multiple members of a family can share Prime benefits like Prime shipping, video, photos and more through Amazon Household, which allows for up to 10 memberships:

Two adults (18 or older), each with their own Amazon account

Four teens (ages 13 to 17), each with their own Amazon login — this is different from an adult account since adults can share digital content with teens and set viewing restrictions

Four children (while children can’t shop on Amazon, adults can share content like eBooks, apps, and games with them)

AMAZON PRIME STREAMING SERVICE (PRIME VIDEO)

Prime Video is a streaming video service by Amazon. Prime Video benefits are included with an Amazon Prime membership. With your membership, you can watch hundreds of TV shows and movies on your favorite devices. To get started, visit Amazon.com/prime video, or download the Prime Video app on your mobile device.

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