Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is an American multinational electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and China. It is also expected to launch its websites in Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Mexico and India. It also provides international shipping to certain countries for some of its products.
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com, Inc. in 1994, and the site went online in 1995. It is named after the Amazon River, one of the largest rivers in the world. Amazon.com started as an online bookstore, but soon diversified, selling DVDs, CDs, MP3 downloads, computer software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, and toys.History
The company began as an online bookstore. While the largest brick-and-mortar bookstores and mail-order catalogs might offer 200,000 titles, an online bookstore could sell far more. Bezos wanted a name for his company that began with "A" so that it would appear early in alphabetic order. He began looking through the dictionary and settled on "Amazon" because it was a place that was "exotic and different" and it was the river he considered the biggest in the world, as he hoped his company would be. Since 2000, Amazon's logotype is an arrow leading from A to Z, representing customer satisfaction (as it forms a smile). A goal was to have every product in the alphabet.
Amazon was incorporated in 1994, in the state of Washington. In July 1995, the company began service and sold its first book on Amazon.com — Douglas Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought. In 1996, it was reincorporated in Delaware. Amazon issued its initial public offering of stock on May 15, 1997, trading under the NASDAQ stock exchange symbol AMZN, at a price of US$18.00 per share ($1.50 after three stock splits in the late 1990s).
Amazon's initial business plan was unusual. The company did not expect a profit for four to five years. Its "slow" growth provoked stockholder complaints that the company was not reaching profitability fast enough. When the dot-com bubble burst, and many e-companies went out of business, Amazon persevered, and finally turned its first profit in the fourth quarter of 2001: $5 million or 1¢ per share, on revenues of more than $1 billion. The profit, although it was modest, served to demonstrate that the business model could be profitable. In 1999, Time magazine named Bezos the Person of the Year, recognizing the company's success in popularizing online shopping.
Barnes and Noble filed a lawsuit on 12 May 1997, alleging that Amazon's claim to be "the world's largest bookstore" was false. Barnes and Noble asserted, "[It] isn't a bookstore at all. It's a book broker." The suit was later settled out of court. Amazon continued to call itself "the world's largest bookstore." Walmart subsequently filed suit on 16 October 1998, alleging that Amazon had stolen trade secrets by hiring former Walmart executives. Although this suit was settled out of court, it caused Amazon to implement internal restrictions and reassignment of the former Walmart executives.
- 1998: Bookpages.co.uk, a UK online book retailer, which became Amazon UK on October 15, 1998.
- 1999: Internet Movie Database (IMDb).; PlanetAll, a reminder service based in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Junglee.com, an XML-based data mining startup based in Sunnyvale; Alexa Internet, Accept.com, and Exchange.com
- 2003: Online music retailer CD Now.
- 2004: Joyo.com, a Chinese e-commerce website.
- 2005: BookSurge, a print on demand company, and Mobipocket.com, an eBook software company. CreateSpace.com (formerly CustomFlix), a distributor of on-demand DVDs, based in Scotts Valley, California. CreateSpace has since expanded to include on-demand books, CDs, and video.
- 2006: Shopbop, a retailer of designer clothing and accessories for women, based in Madison, Wisconsin.
- 2007: dpreview.com, a digital photography review website based in London; Brilliance Audio, the largest independent publisher of audiobooks in the United States.
- 2008: Audible.com; Fabric.com; Box Office Mojo; AbeBooks; Shelfari; (including a 40% stake in LibraryThing and whole ownership of BookFinder.com, Gojaba.com, and FillZ); Reflexive Entertainment, a casual video game development company.
- 2009: Zappos, an online shoe and apparel retailer Lexcycle
- 2010: Touchco., Woot, Quidsi, BuyVIP, Amie Street.
- 2011: Lovefilm, The Book Depository, Pushbutton
- 2008: Engine Yard, a Ruby-on-Rails platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company. 
- 2010: LivingSocial, a local deal site.
- 2004: A9.com, a company focused on researching and building innovative technology.
- 2004: Lab126, developers of integrated consumer electronics such as the Kindle.
- 2007: Endless.com, an e-commerce brand focusing on shoes.
- 2007: Brilliance Audio, the largest independent audio book producer in the U.S. 
The website CDNOW is managed by Amazon. Until June 30, 2006, typing ToysRUs.com into a browser would similarly bring up Amazon.com's "Toys & Games" tab; however, this relationship was terminated due to a lawsuit. Amazon also hosted and managed the website for Borders bookstores but this ceased in 2008. From its inception until August 2011, Amazon hosted the retail website for Target.
Amazon.com operates retail web sites for Sears Canada, Benefit Cosmetics, bebe Stores, Timex, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, and Lacoste. For a growing number of enterprise clients, currently including the UK merchants Marks & Spencer, Benefit Cosmetics' UK entity, edeals.com, and Mothercare, Amazon provides a unified multichannel platform where a customer can seamlessly interact with some people that they call the retail website, standalone in-store terminals, or phone-based customer service agents. Amazon Web Services also powers AOL's Shop@AOL.
On October 18, 2011, Amazon.com announced partnership with DC Comics for the exclusive digital rights to many popular comics, including Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, the Sandman, and Watchmen. The partnership has caused well-known bookstores like Barnes & Noble to remove these titles from their shelves. These titles will be available for purchase exclusively through Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet.