Amazon opens for business

Amazon opens for business


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On July 16, 1995, Amazon officially opens for business as an online bookseller. states and to 45 countries. Founder Jeff Bezos’s motto was “get big fast,” and Seattle-based Amazon eventually morphed into an e-commerce colossus, selling everything from groceries to furniture to live ladybugs, and helping to revolutionize the way people shop.

Bezos earned an undergraduate degree in computer science and electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1986 then worked in the financial services industry in New York City. In 1994, after realizing the commercial potential of the Internet and determining that books might sell well online, he moved to Washington State and founded Amazon. He initially dubbed the business Cadabra (as in abracadabra) but after someone misheard the name as “cadaver,” Bezos decided to call his startup Amazon, after the enormous river in South America, a moniker he believed wouldn’t box him into offering just one type of product or service.

In the spring of 1995, Bezos invited a small group of friends and former colleagues to check out a beta version of Amazon’s website, and the first-ever order was placed on April 3 of that year, for a science book titled “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies.” When Amazon.com went live to the general public in July 1995, the company boldly billed itself as “Earth’s biggest bookstore,” although sales initially were drummed up solely by word of mouth and Bezos assisted with assembling orders and driving the packages to the post office. However, by the end of 1996 Amazon had racked up $15.7 million in revenues, and in 1997 Bezos took the company public with an initial public offering that raised $54 million. That same year, Bezos personally delivered his company’s one-millionth order, to a customer in Japan who’d purchased a Windows NT manual and a Princess Diana biography. In 1998, Amazon extended beyond books and started selling music CDs, and by the following year it had added more product categories, such as toys, electronics and tools.

By December 1999, Amazon had shipped 20 million items to 150 countries around the globe. That same month, Bezos was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. In 2000, the company introduced a service allowing individual sellers and other outside merchants to peddle their products alongside Amazon’s own items. Meanwhile, Amazon continued to spend heavily on expansion and didn’t post its first full-year profit until 2003.

In 2007, Amazon debuted its Kindle e-reader; four years later, the company announced it was selling more e-books than print books. Also in 2011, Amazon’s tablet computer, the Kindle Fire, was released. Among a variety of other ventures, Amazon launched a cloud computing and video on demand services in 2006; a studio that develops movies and TV series, in 2010; and an online marketplace for fine art, in 2013, which has featured original works by artists including Claude Monet and Norman Rockwell. Additionally, Amazon has acquired a number of companies, including Zappos and Whole Foods. In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the world’s most valuable retailer. Two decades after its founding and with Bezos still at the helm, Amazon’s market value was $250 billion. In 2017, Bezos was named the richest man in the world.


Amazon.com

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Amazon.com, online retailer, manufacturer of electronic book readers, and Web services provider that became the iconic example of electronic commerce. Its headquarters are in Seattle, Washington.

Amazon.com is a vast Internet-based enterprise that sells books, music, movies, housewares, electronics, toys, and many other goods, either directly or as the middleman between other retailers and Amazon.com’s millions of customers. Its Web services business includes renting data storage and computing resources, so-called “cloud computing,” over the Internet. Its considerable online presence is such that, in 2012, 1 percent of all Internet traffic in North America traveled in and out of Amazon.com data centres.

The company also makes the market-leading Kindle e-book readers. Its promotion of these devices has led to dramatic growth in e-book publishing and turned Amazon.com into a major disruptive force in the book-publishing market.


Jeff Bezos – The Amazing Start-Up Story Of An Amazing Entrepreneur

Jeff Bezos, The Founder Of Amazon (Wikimedia)

Internet had just started to gain a tremendous popularity in the 90-ties and it had started to affect people’s lifestyles and the way they do business. As the Internet was slowly penetrating into the daily life, companies began perceiving the web as a new avenue for commerce. Selling products over the web offered a variety of opportunities, but it was not so easy, as it may seem today. One of the greatest entrepreneurs of that time was Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com.

In 1994, 30 years old Bezos was working as a vice-president in the Wall Street firm D.E. Shaw. These were the times when the Internet was just starting to boom… One day he read a report, which outlined the projected annual web growth, and the figures there amazed him – more than 2000 % annually. Jeff realized that the potential of this new thing would be huge, so huge that he decided to leave his secure job and move to Seattle to start working on what would later become Amazon. Bezos made a list of 20 products that could be easily sold on the Internet. Next, he focused on the 5 most promising of them: books, compact discs, computer hardware, computer software and videos. Bezos’ general business idea was to sell books online, taking advantage of the growing popularity of the World Wide Web, the big target audience and the vast choice of books that were published. He believed that books can be sold at reasonable prices and he would be able to very easily ship them. And this was how the idea behind one of the first online bookstores was born!


Amazon Opens Brick-And-Mortar Stores Meant To Emphasize Convenience

Amazon is opening new stores — in the real world. And in true Big Tech fashion the experience is meant to emphasize convenience. All you need to do is walk in, grab your stuff, and go.

Amazon's move from the digital to the physical world started with brick-and-mortar bookshops. Now the company is opening convenience stores. As you would expect, there is a high-tech twist. In these stores, you don't have to take out your wallet to pay. Cardiff Garcia and Sally Herships from our daily economics podcast The Indicator From Planet Money look at what this development means for the market.

SALLY HERSHIPS, BYLINE: In the new stores, there are no cashiers. There are no checkout counters. You take stuff off the shelf and out of the store. And somehow, Amazon figures out what you have, and it charges you.

CARDIFF GARCIA, BYLINE: Amazon's system represents a tradeoff that we often make when we use technology. As consumers, we supply our data in return for convenience. When we shop at Amazon and other online retailers, those companies are collecting information on you, which they think they can sell or use to bombard you with targeted ads or ideas for what to buy next.

HERSHIPS: So far, shopping in the real world has been a holdout, right? It's a place where you can still use cash. You can still buy stuff that maybe you don't want tracked.

GARCIA: Amazon told us that they only hold onto customers' data just long enough to send them a receipt. So if humans are no longer checking us out at the register, what's going to happen to all those jobs - all those cashier jobs? Heidi Shierholz is senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

HEIDI SHIERHOLZ: In the early 1800's, over 80% of our labor market was in agriculture. So if you would have been sort of a futurist at that time, you would have gone, oh, my goodness. We're going to lose all of these jobs. And you would have, in some ways, been absolutely right.

GARCIA: Instead, they now work in other industries. Heidi says that what we find is that automation has never caused sustained decline in the overall number of jobs. And you might be wondering, how is that possible? Well, think about it. When a company like Amazon uses tech instead of human workers, it can now sell its products more cheaply to consumers, and that starts a process where consumers have more leftover cash to buy other things. And when they buy those other things, that generates economic activity, and that brings new jobs to those sectors.

HERSHIPS: Which brings us to a question - how are small business owners, the kind that often run convenience stores, going to be impacted by Amazon moving in on their turf?

GARCIA: Jonathan Bowles is executive director at the Center for an Urban Future.

JONATHAN BOWLES: We survived 7-Eleven. We survived the expansion of all these national drugstore chains, and now we've got to deal with this.

HERSHIPS: Right around the corner from Amazon's new store is a local deli. It's a small business. And, Cardiff, you know, they told us they didn't want to go on tape, but they were not psyched about Amazon. The company represents major competition for them.

BOWLES: When you shop at a bodega or a small business, your money is staying in the community. Oftentimes, that small business or bodega owner is sponsoring a Little League team or being part of the community, investing or spending money on local workers. They're putting money into the community by spending things that they earn at the business.

GARCIA: Jonathan says that if too many national chains move in and displace small businesses, that could cause another problem.

BOWLES: When it tips too far in that direction - when the unique independent small businesses are so crowded out - it's just a much less interesting place to be.

HERSHIPS: For now, I think I'm going to head to my local deli for lunch.

GARCIA: Cardiff Garcia, NPR News.

SHAPIRO: And we should say Amazon is an NPR sponsor.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR&rsquos programming is the audio record.


Considered a pioneer in online retailing, Amazon.com, Inc. expanded during the late 1990s to offer the "Earth's Biggest Selection" of books, CDs, videos, DVDs, electronics, toys, tools, home furnishings and housewares, apparel, and kitchen gadgets. Through third-party agreements, Amazon.com also sells products from well-known retailers including Toysrus.com Inc., Target Corporation, Circuit City Stores Inc., the Borders Group, Waterstones, Expedia Inc., Hotwire, National Leisure Group Inc., and Virgin Wines. Sometimes criticized for its focus on market share over profits, Amazon.com put investor fears to rest when it secured its first net profit during the fourth quarter of 2001.

The Early 1990s: Beginnings

Throughout the 1990s, the popularity of the Internet and World Wide Web swept across the world, and personal computers in most businesses and households got hooked up in some form or another to Internet providers and Web browser software. As use of the Internet became more prevalent in society, companies began looking to the Web as a new avenue for commerce. Selling products over the Internet offered a variety of choices and opportunities. One of the pioneers of e-commerce was Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com.

In 1994, Bezos left his job as vice-president of the Wall Street firm D.E. Shaw, moved to Seattle, and began to work out a business plan for what would become Amazon.com. After reading a report that projected annual Web growth at 2,300 percent, Bezos drew up a list of 20 products that could be sold on the Internet. He narrowed the list to what he felt were the five most promising: compact discs, computer hardware, computer software, videos, and books. Bezos eventually decided that his venture would sell books over the Web, due to the large worldwide market for literature, the low price that could be offered for books, and the tremendous selection of titles that were available in print. He chose Seattle as the company headquarters due to its large high-tech work force and its proximity to a large book distribution center in Oregon. Bezos then worked to raise funds for the company while also working with software developers to build the company's web site. The web site debuted in July 1995 and quickly became the number one book-related site on the Web.

In just four months of operation, Amazon.com became a very popular site on the Web, making high marks on several Internet rankings. It generated recognition as the sixth best site on Point Communications' "top ten" list, and was almost immediately placed on Yahoo's "what's cool list" and Netscape's "what's new list." The site opened with a searchable database of over one million titles. Customers could enter search information, prompting the system to sift through the company database and find the desired titles. The program then displayed information about the selection on a customer's computer screen, and gave the customer the option to order the books with a credit card and have the books shipped in a just a few days.

As a pioneer in the world of Internet commerce, Amazon.com strived to set the standard for web businesses. With that goal in mind, Bezos went to work on making the web site as customer friendly as possible and relating the site to all types of customers. For those people who knew what book they were looking for and just wanted quick performance and low cost, Amazon.com offered powerful search capabilities of its expanded 1.5 million-title database. The company also began offering 10 to 30 percent discounts on most titles, making the prices extremely affordable. For other customers who were just looking for something to read in a general area of interest, Amazon.com offered topic areas to browse, as well as lists of bestsellers, award winners, and titles that were recently featured in the media. Finally, for people who could not decide, Amazon.com offered a recommendation center. There a customer could find books based on his or her mood, reading habits, or preferences. The recommendation center also offered titles based on records of books the customer had purchased in the past, if they were return customers to the site.

Other hits with customers were the little touches, such as optional gift wrapping of packages, and the "eye" notification service, which sent customers e-mails alerting them when a new book in their favorite subject or by their favorite author came into stock. The site also offered the ability for customers not only to write their comments about different books and have them published on the site, but to read other customers' comments about books they were interested in buying.

After less than two years of operation, Amazon.com became a public company in May 1997 with an initial public offering (IPO) of three million shares of common stock. With the proceeds from the IPO, Bezos went to work on improving the already productive web site and on bettering the company's distribution capabilities.

To help broaden the company's distribution capabilities, and to ease the strain on the existing distribution center that came from such a high volume of orders, in September 1997 Bezos announced that Amazon.com would be opening an East Coast distribution center in New Castle, Delaware. There was also a 70 percent expansion of the company's Seattle center. The improvements increased the company's stocking and shipping capabilities and reduced the time it took to fill customers' orders. The Delaware site not only got Amazon.com closer to East Coast customers, but also to East Coast publishers, which decreased Amazon.com's receiving time. With the new centers in place, Bezos set a goal for the company of 95 percent same-day shipping of in-stock orders, getting orders to the customers much faster than before.

Another growth area for Amazon.com was the success of its "Associate' program. Established in July 1996, the program allowed individuals with their own web sites to choose books of interest and place ads for them on their own sites, allowing visitors to purchase those books. The customer was linked to Amazon.com, which took care of all the orders. Associates were sent reports on their sales and made a 3 to 8 percent commission from books sold on their sites. The Associates program really began to take off in mid-1997, when Amazon.com formed partnerships with Yahoo, Inc. and America Online, Inc. Both companies agreed to give Amazon.com broad promotional capabilities on their sites, two of the most visited sites on the Web. As the success continued, Amazon also struck deals with many other popular sites, including Netscape, GeoCities, Excite, and AltaVista.

As the company continued to grow in 1997, Bezos announced in October that Amazon.com would be the first Internet retailer to reach the milestone of one million customers. With customers in all 50 states and now 160 countries worldwide, what had started in a Seattle garage was now a company with $147.8 million in yearly sales.

Further Expansion in 1998

As Amazon.com ventured into 1998, the company continued to grow. By February, the Associates program had reached 30,000 members, who now earned up to 15 percent for recommending and selling books from their web sites. Four months later, the number of Associates had doubled to 60,000.

The company's customer database continued to grow as well, with cumulative customer accounts reaching 2.26 million in March, an increase of 50 percent in just three months, and of 564 percent over the previous year. In other words, it took Amazon.com 27 months to serve its first million customers and only six months to serve the second million. This feat made Amazon.com the third largest bookseller in the United States.

Financed by a $75 million credit facility secured in late 1997, Amazon.com continued to reshape its services in 1998. To its catalog of over 2.5 million titles, the company added Amazon.com Advantage, a program to help the sales of independent authors and publishers, and Amazon.com Kids, a service providing over 100,000 titles for younger children and teenagers.

Amazon.com also expanded its business through a trio of acquisitions in early 1998. Two of the companies were acquired to further expand Amazon.com's business into Europe. Bookpages, one of the largest online booksellers in the United Kingdom, gave Amazon.com access to the U.K. market. Telebook, the largest online bookseller in Germany, added its German titles to the mix. Both companies not only gave Amazon .com access to new customers in Europe, but it also gave existing Amazon.com customers access to more books from around the world. The Internet Movie Database (IMD), the third acquisition, was used to support plans for its move into online video sales. The tremendous resources and information of the IMD served as a valuable asset in the construction of a customer-friendly and informative web site for video sales.

Another big change in 1998 was the announcement of the company's decision to enter into the online music business. Bezos again wanted to make the site as useful as possible for his customers, so he appealed to them for help. Several months before officially opening its music site, Amazon.com asked its bookstore customers and members of the music profession to help design the new web site.

The music store opened in June 1998, with over 125,000 music titles available. The new site, which began operations at the same time that Amazon.com debuted a redesigned book site, offered many of the same helpful services available at the company's book site. The database was searchable by artist, song title, or label, and customers were able to listen to more than 225,000 sound clips before making their selection.

Amazon.com ended the second quarter of 1998 as strong as ever. Cumulative customer accounts broke the three million mark, and as sales figures for Amazon.com continued to rise, and more products and titles were added, the future looked bright for this pioneer in the Internet commerce marketplace. With music as a part of the company mix, and video sales on the horizon, Bezos seemed to have accomplished his goal of gathering a strong market share in the online sales arena. As Bezos told Fortune magazine in December 1996: "By the year 2000, there could be two or three big online bookstores. We need to be one of them."

Growth Continues: 1999 and Beyond

As such, the company's focus on growth continued. In 1999, it launched an online auction service entitled Amazon Auctions. It also began offering toys and electronics and then divided its product offerings into individual stores on its site to make it easier for customers to shop for certain items. During the holiday season that year, the firm ordered 181 acres of holiday wrapping paper and 2,494 miles of red ribbon, a sign that Bezos expected holiday shoppers to flock to his site as they had in the two past years. Sure enough, sales climbed to $1.6 billion proving that the founder's efforts to create an online powerhouse had indeed paid off. In 1999, Bezos reached the upper echelon of the corporate world when Time magazine honored him with its prestigious "Person of the Year" award.


How to keep track of your Amazon order history

It used to be easy to download your Amazon order history report, but the order option disappeared recently, making it much more difficult to download your order information. Tons of people have been complaining about the issue in various forums, and when reaching out to Amazon customer service for answers, most got a canned response as to the reasoning.

One user, Kimberly, posted a question about access to the order history to Amazon customer support, noting that she used to download an order history report every week. Well, Kimberly finally got a real response from Amazon, but it still didn’t tell us much about why the order history feature is missing from user accounts.

Amazon stated, “We apologize for the inconvenience. The Order History Report tool has been deprecated.” Or, in other words, the tool was removed, but there isn’t a clear reason why that happened — not from the customer service response, anyway.

The only accounts that still have access to the tool are Amazon Prime Business accounts. Unfortunately, Amazon Prime Business accounts aren’t the same as regular Prime user accounts. These accounts are geared toward companies, organizations, entrepreneurs and other businesses.

The difference is that Amazon Business is built with businesses in mind and with it you get access to things like quantity discounts. You can also use different payment options with the Business account then you can with a regular Prime account. For example, you can use Amazon’s Corporate Credit, a corporate credit card, or make tax-exempt purchases.

You can also create multiple user groups for different business departments and you can use the order history tool to sort and document order history from each multi-user group. That isn’t possible with regular Amazon Prime accounts.

Luckily, you can still pull your order history with regular Prime accounts. If you’re trying to get your order history for your business account, you can follow the instructions below.

These reports can be pulled by the account administrators as well as orders placed by requisitioners who belong to the business account.

To create an Order History Report for Amazon Prime Business accounts:

  1. Go to Order History Reports in Your Account.
  2. Select the report type from the drop-down menu, then fill in the start date, end date and report name.
  3. Click Request Report.
  4. When the report is complete, you’ll receive an e-mail notification. To retrieve the report, visit Order History Reports and click Download.

The report includes the PO number, requisitioner name, order number, order status, buyer name, approver name (if any), group name (if any) and other order details.

If you’re trying to get your order history for your regular Prime account, though, you’ll need to follow the instructions below.


How does it work?

Grab-and-go shopping has been the "future of retail" for some time now.

But now Amazon believes its time has come - or at least that it is ready for real-world testing.

They're calling it "Just walk out" and while they won't spill the beans on just how it works, they say it uses "computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion, much like youɽ find in a self-driving car".

You scan a QR code as you enter. After that, your phone can go back in your pocket.

Hundreds of infra-red ceiling cameras have been trained (with Amazon employees as guinea pigs) over the past year to differentiate between customers as they move around the store, and between items for sale, even those with similar appearances, such as different flavours of the same canned drink.

There are weight sensors on the shelves to help indicate if an item has been taken or put back. And some items carry a visual dot code, like a bar code, to help cameras identify them.

Amazon isn't offering any information on how accurate the system is.

However, one journalist attempted to shoplift some cans of soft drink - but the system spotted it and added them on his bill.

Amazon has not said if it will be opening more Go stores, which are separate from the Whole Foods chain that it bought last year for $13.7bn (£10.7bn).

As yet the company has no plans to introduce the technology to the hundreds of Whole Foods stores.

However, retailers know that the faster customers can make their purchases, the more likely they are to return.

Making the dreaded supermarket queue a thing of the past will give any retailer a huge advantage over its competitors.

The Seattle store is not Amazon's first foray into bricks and mortar retailing. In 2015 the firm opened its first physical bookshop, also in Seattle where the company is based. There are now 13 in the US - as well as dozens of temporary pop-up outlets.

In its third quarter results in October, Amazon for the first time put a figure on the revenues generated by its physical stores: $1.28bn. Yet almost all of that was generated by Whole Foods.

While its stores may not yet be moneyspinners, analysts have said Amazon is using them to raise brand awareness and promote its Prime membership scheme. Prime members pay online prices at its bookstores, for example, while non-members are charged the cover price.

Brian Olsavsky, Amazon chief financial officer, recently hinted that rivals should expect more Amazon shops in the months and years ahead.

"You will see more expansion from us - it's still early, so those plans will develop over time," he said in October.


With Amazon Business, organizations of any size can simplify buying and drive toward their next stage of growth.

Let us analyze your organization’s spending data, identify where you could save time and money, and get you started on the path to strategic buying.

Build your case for Amazon Business as an efficient and cost-cutting solution to optimize enterprise operations.

Intelligent technologies are automating data analysis to help organizations save time and money.

Stay on top of the latest news, research, and product releases from Amazon Business.


Об AWS

С 2006 года Amazon Web Services (AWS) предлагает различным компаниям сервисы ИТ-инфраструктуры в виде веб-сервисов – услуги, в наши дни широко известные под названием «облачные вычисления». Одним из ключевых преимуществ облачных вычислений является возможность заменить серьезные начальные капиталовложения в инфраструктуру на небольшие переменные расходы, масштаб которых меняется вместе с вашим бизнесом. Благодаря облачным вычислениям компаниям не нужно предварительно планировать использование серверов и прочей ИТ-инфраструктуры и оплачивать все это на несколько недель или месяцев вперед. Вместо этого они могут за считаные минуты разворачивать сотни и тысячи серверов и быстро достигать результатов.

На сегодняшний день Amazon Web Services предоставляют высоконадежную, масштабируемую, недорогую инфраструктурную платформу в облаке, которая обеспечивает работу сотен тысяч предприятий более чем в 190 странах по всему миру. Центры обработки данных расположены в США, Европе, Бразилии, Сингапуре, Японии и Австралии, что обеспечивает ряд преимуществ представителям любых сфер бизнеса.

Низкая стоимость

AWS предлагает низкие цены без предоплаты и долгосрочных обязательств. Вы платите только по факту потребления. Мы можем создать глобальную инфраструктуру нужного масштаба и управлять ею, помогая вам экономить средства на оплате наших услуг. Эффективность масштабируемости и большой опыт позволили нам за последние четыре года снизить цены на 15 различных видов сервисов. Дополнительные сведения см. в разделеЦентр экономии.

Гибкость и мгновенная эластичность

AWS представляет собой огромную облачную инфраструктуру мирового масштаба, позволяющую быстро вводить новшества, экспериментировать и воспроизводить свои действия. Не тратя недели и месяцы на ожидание поставок аппаратного оборудования, вы можете немедленно развертывать новые приложения и масштабировать их как в сторону увеличения, так и в сторону уменьшения, в зависимости от текущей рабочей нагрузки. Один виртуальный сервер вам нужен или тысяча, будут они работать несколько часов или круглосуточно – в любом случае вы платите только за то, что используете. Дополнительные сведения см. в разделеЦентр архитектурных решений.

Открытость и гибкость

AWS – это платформа, которая поддерживает различные языки и операционные системы. Выбор платформы разработки или модели программирования, наиболее подходящей вашему бизнесу, остается за вами. Вы сами выбираете, сколькими сервисами пользоваться и как именно их использовать. Эта гибкость поможет вам сосредоточиться на инновациях, а не на инфраструктуре. Загрузить техническое описание AWS.

Безопасность

AWS – это безопасная, надежная технологическая платформа, прошедшая необходимые проверки и получившая сертификаты, признанные в данной отрасли: PCI DSS уровня 1, ISO 27001, FISMA Moderate, FedRAMP, HIPAA, SOC 1 (известная ранее как SAS 70 и/или SSAE 16) и отчеты проверки SOC 2. В наших сервисах и центрах обработки данных предусмотрено несколько уровней операционной и физической защиты, что позволяет обеспечить сохранность и безопасность ваших данных. Дополнительные сведения см. в разделе Центр безопасности.


HQ2 and other office expansions

Amazon pledged a $5 billion economic investment for its second headquarters, which it ultimately split between two locations in Northern Virginia and New York. Even once it backed out of the New York deal following local and political backlash, Amazon said it would move move forward with its plans in Northern Virginia as well as for its new Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville, where it pledged a $230 million investment.

The company said it would continue to grow across its 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in North America as well and has since announced several expansions including in Denver and Austin.


Contents

Amazon was founded in 1994 in Bellevue, Washington, and moved to leased space in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle. As the company grew, it went through a series of office moves around Downtown Seattle, until announcing a move to a purpose-built headquarters campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood, then a light industrial enclave undergoing urban renewal. [11] As of 2017 [update] , Amazon occupies 8.1 million square feet (750,000 m 2 ) of office space in 33 buildings in Seattle, employing 40,000 white collar workers. [12]

Amazon's request for proposals outlined several core requirements, as well as optional preferences. [13]

  • Metropolitan areas with a population of over 1 million
  • Within 30 miles (48 km) of a population center
  • Within 45 minutes of an international airport
  • Proximity to major highways and arterial roads 1–3 miles (2–5 km)
  • Access to mass transit routes
  • Up to 8 million square feet (740,000 m 2 ) of office space for future expansion

Optional preferences included airports with direct flights to Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., urban locations, and proximity to major universities. [14]

The deadline for Phase I bids was set at October 19, 2017. [15] A final site was planned to be selected and announced in November 2018, from a shortlist of 20 cities released in January. [4] [13] [16]

Submitted Edit

As of October 23, 2017 [update] , 238 proposals had been submitted and received by Amazon, representing cities and regions from 54 states, provinces, districts, and territories. [3] [17] [18] The only U.S. states that did not have a locality that submitted a formal proposal were Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. [19] The Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Saskatchewan also had no regions submit a bid, along with the Yukon Territory. [20]

Moody's Analytics published an analysis of bidding metropolitan areas and determined that Austin, Texas, ranked highest among Amazon's criteria, followed by Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Rochester, New York. [23] The New York Times found Denver to be the best site based on Amazon's criteria, followed closely by Boston and Washington, D.C. [24] Irish gambling site Paddy Power originally listed Atlanta as the odds on favorite to win HQ2, with 2-to-1 odds, [25] but as of January 2018, listed Atlanta and Austin as sharing 3-to-1 odds of winning Amazon HQ2. [26]

Promotional campaigns Edit

Several cities and groups promoted their HQ2 bids by engaging in promotional campaigns and gimmicks, including offers and gifts to Amazon. Sun Corridor, a Tucson, Arizona economic development firm, sent a 21-foot saguaro cactus to Amazon in an attempt to promote the city's bid. The gift was rejected due to the company's corporate gifts policy, instead donating it to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. [27] The city of Stonecrest, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, voted to de-annex 345 acres (140 ha) of land for Amazon to establish its own city named Amazon around its headquarters. [28]

Sly James, mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, purchased 1,000 products from Amazon, which he donated to charity. James wrote 5-star reviews for each one of them, in which every review mentioned positive attributes of Kansas City. [29] Primanti Brothers, a chain of sandwich shops based in Pittsburgh, offered free sandwiches to Amazon employees if they chose the city as their second headquarters. [29]

The city of Birmingham, Alabama erected several giant Amazon boxes and dash buttons around public areas. The dash buttons sent out pre-generated tweets to lure Amazon to the city. [29] New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced that major landmarks in the city would be lit in orange to promote the city's campaign for HQ2. [29]

A group from Calgary sprayed messages onto sidewalks in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood urging the company to choose them. [29] During an Ottawa Senators hockey game, fans were encouraged to "make noise" for the city of Ottawa's Amazon bid. [15]

The neighboring American and Canadian cities of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario submitted a bid together and campaigned the two cities to be the home of the new Amazon campus. With the headquarters being divided across the Canada–United States border, the company could take advantage of tax incentives offered by both Ontario and Michigan. Amazon would also be able to capitalize on the less restrictive Canadian immigration laws and the lower currency exchange of the Canadian Dollar. [30]

Contrary to other cities, Little Rock, Arkansas, purchased a full-page ad in The Washington Post "breaking up" with Amazon, where they described their decision to not submit a bid, while also touting the city's positive attributes. [31] A few days after the bid deadline, the campaign flew a banner plane over Seattle with the same message. [32]

Finalists Edit

On January 18, 2018, Amazon announced its shortlist of 20 finalists for the HQ2 bidding process. The list focuses mainly on the U.S. East Coast and Midwest, with Los Angeles the only selection from the West Coast and Toronto the only one outside of the United States. [4] [33] [34]

    , Georgia (including Stonecrest) , Texas , Massachusetts (Suffolk Downs-East Boston and Somerville) [35] , Illinois (City Center Campus, Downtown Gateway District, River District, Lincoln Yards, The 78, Burnham Lakefront, Fulton Market District, Illinois Medical District, Schaumburg, Oak Brook) [36] , Ohio (Franklinton, Ohio State University, Easton) [37] , Texas , Colorado , Indiana , California , Florida , Maryland , Tennessee , New Jersey , New York (West Midtown Manhattan, Financial District, Brooklyn Tech Triangle, Long Island City) [38] (Fairfax and Loudoun counties, including Arlington and Alexandria, in Virginia) [39] , Pennsylvania (Schuylkill Yards, uCity Square, Navy Yard) [40] , Pennsylvania , North Carolina , Ontario (including Mississauga, Brampton, York Region, Durham Region, Halton Region, Waterloo Region, Guelph and Hamilton) [41] (Anacostia Riverfront, Capitol Hill East, NoMa-Union Station, Shaw-Howard University) [42]

Amazon began tours of its finalist cities in late February. Bidding cities also signed non-disclosure agreements with Amazon for the duration of the bid process. [43] [44] According to an Amazon spokesperson, the NDA does not cover financial incentives that cities have offered. [45] NBC News reported in May that visits to the 20 finalists had been finished by Amazon. [46] In an interview in September 2018, with The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Bezos said, "We will have a decision by the end of the year." [47]

In November 2018, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal reported that several finalists were in advanced talks with Amazon over the HQ2 decision, including the potential choosing of Crystal City in Northern Virginia. [48] Amazon Director of Economic Development Mike Grella wrote on Twitter that the leaker responsible for informing the newspapers was violating a non-disclosure agreement. [49] Grella also criticized media outlets for speculating on the winning bid for HQ2 based on the travel patterns of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post. [50] On November 5, 2018, it was speculated that Amazon was finalizing plans to divide HQ2 evenly among two locations: Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, Long Island City in Queens, New York, or Dallas, Texas. [51] [52] [53] Amazon declined to comment on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reports. [54]

Some of the finalists and rejected bids have used their Amazon proposals to attract investments from other multinational corporations. [55] [56]

Criticism and opposition Edit

Steven Strauss, a visiting professor of public policy at Princeton University [57] and an expert on economic development, [58] in an editorial in USA Today suggested that metropolitan areas should be cautious about bidding too generously to win the Amazon bid. He pointed to examples where companies have gone bankrupt or failed to follow up on expansion plans. Strauss also wrote that it was possible that cities could over-pay (the so-called "winner's curse") by providing an overly generous incentive package, which would turn out to be a money-losing proposition for the municipality if all the promised jobs did not materialize. [59]

Conservative and liberal advocacy groups voiced their opposition to various tax breaks promised by cities in hopes of luring Amazon. [60] [61]

In early 2018, New York University Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway said Amazon was soliciting bids from places that it never intended to move to solely to gain tax breaks. [62] He predicted that HQ2 would be located in either the New York metropolitan area or the Washington metropolitan area with the decision to create two locations, Galloway ended up predicting both correctly. [63] He repeatedly called the competition a "ruse" and a "con". [62] Galloway said that "the game was over before it started", claiming that the proximity to both Jeff Bezos' home and the United States Capital made the DC area an obvious choice. [64]

Former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that he would begin conversations with Amazon about long-term plans for the city, while the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce characterized the announcement as a "wake-up call" to Seattle to improve the city's business climate. [65] Comparisons were made to Boeing's decision to move its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, which came as a surprise to Seattle. [66]

Jim Balsillie remarked that he was disappointed in W. Edmund Clark, Kathleen Wynne's czar in charge of the Toronto bid, when in 2017 the latter attempted to sell the buyer on "our competitive advantage. software programmers that cost 34% to 38% less than in the US. that's an edge the government is determined not only to maintain but to sharpen." Balsillie found this strategy to be "misguided. these strategies put our tech workers in a global race to the bottom, competing on cost with the salaries in Poland, Ukraine, and India." [67]

The selections of New York City and Northern Virginia for the HQ2 sites were confirmed early on November 13, 2018. [5] [68] Amazon made the official announcement later that day. [69] [70] [6] In Amazon's announcement, a joint press release was presented by the Northern Virginia bidders that Amazon's HQ2 neighborhood location would officially be renamed "National Landing", which encompasses not only Crystal City but also the nearby areas of Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. [71] Amazon also announced that it would employ 5,000 people at a new Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville, Tennessee. [72]

Long Island City Edit

The subsidies offered to Amazon in New York include performance-based direct incentives of $1.525 billion based on whether the company created 25,000 jobs. This included a refundable tax credit through the state's Excelsior Program of up to $1.2 billion, calculated as a percentage of the salaries Amazon expects to pay employees over the following 10 years. Additionally, the Empire State Development Corporation would give Amazon a cash grant of $325 million based on the occupancy rates of HQ2 buildings over in the following 10 years. [72] [73] Under an agreement with New York City's government, half of the property taxes for the city's HQ2 campus would be waived, and the exempt amount would go to the city's PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) fund to pay for infrastructure improvements in New York City. [74] [75] Both states proposed that Amazon be given access to a helipad, and the New York state government also promised to upgrade infrastructure in conjunction with HQ2's construction there. [73]

Amazon was said to have chosen New York City as one of the sites for HQ2 because of the city's highly skilled pool of talent existing tech, finance, and media industries and strong university system, including Columbia University and Cornell Tech. [76]

Cancellation of New York portion Edit

After the HQ2 campus in New York City was announced, officials representing parts of Queens, such as U.S. Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, State Senator Michael Gianaris, and Assemblyman Ron Kim, announced their disapproval. [77] Ocasio-Cortez, Van Bramer, and Gianaris all expressed concern that Amazon would receive tax breaks while critical infrastructure, such as the New York City Subway, was deteriorating, and the New York City public school system and New York City Health Department were underfunded. In a Twitter post, Ocasio-Cortez raised further concerns about the affordability of housing in Queens, since housing prices around the HQ2 campus in Queens began rising in anticipation of the campus's construction. [78] Kim and Fordham University professor Zephyr Teachout wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in which they stated that the city should "not offer incentives and giveaways to an internet giant known for squashing small businesses." [79]

Politico reported that the Long Island City location would be built on land intended for 6,000 homes, including 1,500 affordable housing units. [80] New York State Senate member Michael Gianaris said, "The more we learn about this deal, the worse it gets." [81]

On February 14, 2019, Amazon announced that it would cancel the planned Long Island City location due to opposition. [82] The company also said that it would continue developing the Crystal City and Nashville locations. [10] [83] Bill de Blasio and Cuomo were "blindsided" by Amazon's decision when informed by Amazon VP Jay Carney. [84] New York governor Andrew Cuomo blamed Democrats in the New York State Senate for the cancellation, and New York City mayor de Blasio said that Amazon "threw away that opportunity," by making the announcement. [85] [86] In response, Ocasio-Cortez stated: "If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest $3 billion in our district ourselves if we want to. We could hire more teachers, we can fix our subways, we can put a lot of people to work for that money if we wanted to." [87] [88] [89] Ocasio-Cortez omitted the fact that the "$3 billion" were merely discounts on taxes of future Amazon activity, not existing cash the city possessed. Mayor de Blasio, among others, criticized her, and those who had made similar remarks, for suggesting the money, mostly in the form of tax credits, was now free to be spent elsewhere. [90] Activist organizations also argued that, in Amazon's absence, the original plans to build 6,000 homes should be re-adopted. [91]

In the weeks following Amazon's decision, Governor Cuomo phoned multiple Amazon executives and even Jeff Bezos, personally asking them to reconsider and guaranteeing them "support." The Partnership for New York City placed an open letter in The New York Times stating that Cuomo "will take personal responsibility for the project's state approval." The letter is signed by Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, Andrew D. Hamilton, David M. Solomon, David N. Dinkins, and Ajay Banga, among others. [92]

According to an interview with CNBC, Amazon's vice president of public policy Brian Huseman denied that politics rather than logistics were a factor in Amazon choosing to cancel its New York location. [93]

Despite cancelling the Long Island City location, in December 2019, Amazon announced that it had signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet (31,100 m 2 ) of space in the Hudson Yards neighborhood to accommodate 1,500 employees. The company already had 3,500 tech employees in the New York City area. [94]

In February 2019, Cuomo called the cancellation the "greatest tragedy" he'd seen during his tenure as governor of New York. [95] [96]

Northern Virginia Edit

For the location of HQ2, Amazon selected National Landing, an area in Northern Virginia encompassing parts of the Crystal City and Pentagon City neighborhoods of Arlington County and the Potomac Yard neighborhood in the city of Alexandria. [97] While redevelopment efforts in the area had already begun as early as 2014, the cross-jurisdictional neighborhood was branded and announced as "National Landing" in 2018 as a part of local economic development plans to bring Amazon HQ2 to the area. [98] [99] [100] The announcement also included plans to build a graduate school satellite university campus of Virginia Tech in the area. [101] The "National Landing" name derives, in part, from the area's proximity to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. [100] [102]

The area includes the Washington Metro station at Crystal City as well as the Potomac Yard station under construction. [16] The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail system also has a Crystal City station. The Metroway, a bus rapid transit system, runs through the area, with 15 stations covering the area from Arlington's Pentagon City station to Alexandria's Braddock Road station (south of National Landing), with some of this route located in an exclusive bus lane. A pedestrian bridge to connect National Landing to Reagan National Airport and improvements to the existing Metro rail stations are in process. [103] [104]

Virginia offered performance-based incentives which included a workforce cash grant of $550 million for the first 25,000 jobs Amazon created that paid an average salary of $150,000 by 2030. The state offered an additional $200 million for the next 12,850 qualifying jobs created by 2034. Arlington County offered an additional $23 million in cash grants, to be disbursed over 15 years, contingent on Amazon reaching a certain office size and the gradual increased revenue from a tax collected from the county's hotel rooms. The county also offered an estimated $28 million in infrastructure improvements tied to the property taxes of the Pentagon City and Crystal City area. [105] [106] [107] The state's initial offer was close to $1 billion, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. When Amazon told state officials they would get half of the jobs, the group decided to "essentially cut [the incentives] roughly in half." [108]

Amazon's initially said it could occupy up to 8 million square feet of office space in Arlington over the course of 15 years. However, company officials told Arlington in May 2019 that Amazon would not promise anything over 4 million square feet. [109]

Phase 1 Edit

Amazon leased 241 18th Street S., 1800 S. Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive (formerly 1750 Crystal Drive) from JBG Smith and renovated the buildings to serve as temporary office space. [110] [111]

In May 2019, Amazon started listed openings for software development engineers and software managers meant as HQ2 jobs. [112] It moved its first employees into the office space in June 2019, and in June 2020, there were roughly 1,000 employees the company counted as HQ2 workers. [113]

In January 2020, the company started construction on two 22-story towers at 1450 S. Eads St, known as the Metropolitan Park site because of its proximity to a public park of the same name. [114] [115] In September 2020, the company began the $14 million renovation of the park. [116]

Phase 2: The Helix Edit

On February 2, 2021, the company announced a proposed design for the second phase of HQ2, PenPlace, which included "The Helix", a 350-foot glass nucleic acid double helix structure with landscaped terrain that would be opened to the public, comparing it to "Amazon Spheres" at Amazon HQ1. [117] It would not be an office building, but a space for employees in the surrounding Amazon complex to unwind, relax or meet informally with colleagues. Founder Jeff Bezos commented that "The natural beauty of a double helix can be seen throughout our world, from the geometry of our own DNA to the elemental form of galaxies, weather patterns, pine cones, and seashells". [118] The Verge described it as resembling a "glass poop emoji covered in trees." [119]


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