Amazon was founded in July 1994 by Jeff Bezos, who chose the Seattle area for its abundance of technical talent, as Microsoft was in the area. Amazon went public in May 1997. It began selling music and videos in 1998 and started international operations by acquiring online sellers of books in the United Kingdom and Germany. The following year, it sold video games, consumer electronics, home improvement items, software, fun, and toys.
In 2002, it launched Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provided data on website popularity, Internet traffic patterns, and other statistics for marketers and developers. In 2006, it grew its AWS portfolio when Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which rented computer processing power, provided Simple Storage Service (S3), and rented data storage via the Internet, also became available. That year, Amazon also started Fulfillment by Amazon, which allowed individuals and small companies to sell items through the company’s Internet site. In 2012, Amazon bought Kiva Systems to automate its inventory management business. It purchased the Whole Foods Market supermarket chain in 2017.
On February 2, 2021, Amazon announced that Jeff Bezos would step down as CEO to become executive chair of Amazon’s board in Q3 of 2021. Andy Jassy, previously CEO of AWS, became Amazon’s CEO.