History & Culture



We’re 100% peculiar, and proud of it! It’s one of the first things you’ll hear after becoming an Amazonian. But what does it mean?

It means we look at things a little differently. We think around corners. We depend on everyone to be a leader. That’s where the Amazon Leadership Principles come in.

The Leadership Principles aren’t talking points. They’re living, breathing ideas that we embrace anew every single day. They’re discussed in meetings and offices, debated in elevators and hallways. They’re a huge part of what it means to be peculiar at Amazon.


Amazon has been making history since it opened its virtual doors in 1995, with the mission to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where shoppers everywhere can discover anything they might want to buy online.

From Jeff Bezos’ garage to revolutionizing the way people shop and read, it’s been quite a journey so far. Here’s just a few of our milestones along the way.

1994 – Amazon.com incorporated in July. Company headquarters? Jeff Bezos’ garage.

1995 – Amazon sells its first book: Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.

By the end of July, orders have been shipped to all 50 U.S. states and 45 countries worldwide.

1996 – Amazon Associates Program launched – the first online affiliate program of its kind.

1997– IPO announced: Trading begins on NASDAQ under AMZN.

Amazon’s one-millionth customer places order. The package, containing a Windows NT manual and Kitty Kelley’s biography on the British Royal Family, The Royals, is hand-delivered to Japan by Jeff Bezos.

Instant gratification reaches new heights: Amazon’s 1-Click™ Shopping introduced.

1998– The little guy gets a leg up with Amazon.com Advantage, a program for authors, publishers, labels, and studios of all sizes to promote and sell their items on Amazon.com.

Amazon acquires Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), the most comprehensive website for movie and TV information.

Amazon launches its first international websites: Amazon.co.uk (UK) and Amazon.de (Germany).

1999– Ten-millionth Amazon customer served. Customer population now roughly equivalent to the population of Greece.

Amazon Wishlist service launched, customers get gifts they actually want. Harmony reigns.

In December, Jeff Bezos is chosen as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

2000 – Amazon introduces Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G

We’ve accomplished a lot since our first sale in 1995 but there’s still so much more to do.  Come to Amazon and make your own history.  It’s still Day 1.

2001 – Introduces Look Inside the Book™. Customers can now virtually flip through the   pages of thousands of books.

2002– Amazon launches Amazon.ca in Canada.

Amazon Web Services launched. Developers can obtain direct access to Amazon’s robust technology platform. We build and innovate so they don’t have to!

2003– Free Super Saver Shipping becomes a year-round offer, giving Amazon customers free shipping on qualifying orders over $25.

Amazon introduces Search Inside the Book™. Customers can now search the text inside books, not just the title and author.

2004– In September, Joyo.com Limited is acquired, which operates the Joyo.com websites, the largest retailer of books, music, and games in China.

2005– Amazon introduces Amazon Prime, Amazon’s “all you can eat” free express shipping program.

Amazon celebrates 10 years with an employee event featuring performances by Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, and Bill Maher.

Customers worldwide order 108 million items during Amazon’s 11th holiday season.

2006– Small businesses enhance their customer offerings with Fulfillment by Amazon and WebStore by Amazon.

Acquiring shopbop.com, Amazon gets a little more stylish.

Amazon Grocery launches. Everyday household staples are now just a click away.

December 11 is the year’s busiest day, with over 4 million items ordered.

2007– Launches Amazon Kindle, the revolutionary wireless e-reader. Reading is never the same again.

Amazon Prime goes international, now available in Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sets the record for the largest single product distribution, with over 2.2 million pre-orders worldwide.

2008– Amazon introduces Amazon Video On Demand - movies and TV shows now available for rental or purchase online.

Amazon acquires Audible.com, the leading provider of spoken audio entertainment, and AbeBooks, an online marketplace of over 110 million used and out-of-print books.

Frustration-Free Packaging initiative announced, making it easier to liberate products from their packages.

2009– Kindle 2 is introduced, with a selection grown to include over 245,000 books, plus top periodicals and blogs.

Amazon Kindle goes global; Kindle is now available to customers in over 100 countries.  More than 200,000 English-language books are now available to readers around the world.

Two great customer-centric brands unite - Amazon.com acquires Zappos.com, a leader in online apparel and footwear sales.

2010– The Amazon Mom program is introduced, providing exclusive discounts on a variety of products and categories.

Launches Amazon.it, providing Amazon selection and Prime service for customers in Italy.

2011– Kindle Fire is announced, a multimedia tablet offering more than 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games. It is released a day earlier than expected.

Amazon launches AmazonLocal, a local deals website where customers can discover deeply discounted products and services from local businesses, national chains, and online merchants.

2012– Amazon acquires Kiva Systems, Inc. a leading innovator of material-handling technology. Kiva robots are reportedly excited to join the Amazon team.

Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite are introduced: Amazon’s first HD tablet, and the most advanced e-reader ever made.

2013– Amazon introduces AutoRip, giving customers free access to MP3 versions of any CDs or vinyl they ever purchased on Amazon. Music aficianados rejoice.

President Obama tours an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Tennessee, meets associates and delivers a speech about new jobs, praising Amazon as “a great example of what’s possible.”

Amazon Studios releases Alpha House and Betas, Amazon’s first original new TV series, exclusive to Prime Instant Video.

2014– Amazon launches multiple new devices:Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Fire Phone, and Amazon Echo – a new kind of device which responds to your voice.

The doors of some Fulfillment Centers are opened for public tours. Members of the general public can now see how the magic happens when they place an order.

Amazon Studios becomes the first digital streaming service ever to win the Golden Globe best series category, when the original series Transparent wins for both Best Musical or Comedy, and Best Actor for its star, Jeffrey Tambor.

Amazon HQ Photos