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Amazon

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Amazon (Amazon.com) is the world’s largest online retailer and a prominent cloud services provider

The company was originally a book seller but has expanded to sell a wide variety of consumer goods and digital media as well as its own electronic devices, such as the Kindle e-book reader, Kindle Fire tablet and Fire TV, a streaming media adapter.

Amazon Web Services(AWS) is a comprehensive, evolving cloud computing platform. The first AWS offerings were launched in 2006 to provide online services for websites and client-side applications. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3) are the backbone of the company’s large and growing collection of Web services.

Jeff Bezos incorporated the company as Cadabra in 1994 but changed the name to Amazon for the website launch in 1995. Bezos is said to have browsed a dictionary for a word beginning with “A” for the value of alphabetic placement.  He selected the name Amazon because it was “exotic and different” and as a reference to his plan for the company’s size to reflect that of the Amazon River, one of the largest rivers in the world.

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The company has individual websites, software development centers, customer service centers and fulfillment centers in many locations around the world.

This was last updated in April 2014

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