Versatility, thy name is Jeff Bezos. Like the renowned Roman emperor Julius Caesar to whom the phrase "veni vidi vici" is attributed to, the founder of the online retail behemoth Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) came, saw and conquered everything he set his eyes on.
He has this Midas touch, turning everything he touches into gold. He is a visionary, seeing promise in emerging opportunities and adequately exploiting it.
High-Flying Retail Business
Bezos' flagship business of e-tail and e-commerce was floated under the brand name Amazon in 1994. Incidentally, Amazon started as an online bookseller, and at that time its main rival was Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS).
Since its inception, the company has managed to grow by leaps and bounds, with its customer-centric approach being the prime reason for its success. The company went public in 2017, and its market capitalization has grown from $17.11 billion as of Feb. 21, 2007, to $474.43 billion currently.
See Also: Jeff Bezos: The Terminator
For the most-recently concluded fiscal year, Amazon reported net sales of $135.99 billion and net income of $4.19 billion or $5.01 per share. Net cash provided by operating activities stood at $16.44 billion as of December 2016.
About 91 percent of Amazon's net sales came from its online retail business and the rest from its cloud computing business, the Amazon Web Services. About 59 percent of the online retail business revenues came from North America and the rest from its international operations.
The company employed 341,400 full-time and part-time employees as of December 31, 2016, as per its most recent 10-K filing.
Soaring On The Clouds
Amazon has the advantage of being the first entrant in the cloud computing business, although tech heavyweights such as Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) are now vying to snare their share of this lucrative business.
From being used by small developers to test things or run a simple website, AWS now boasts of customers such as Airbnb, Slack and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), which now use it as their mainstay for running all their core applications. The AWS business grew 55 percent year over year in 2016 compared to roughly 25 percent for its core business.
Amazon And Its Many Businesses
Here's an infograph from Bloomberg that gives details on businesses that Amazon has forayed into:
Private space flight company Blue Origin, founded by Bezos in 2000, is involved in developing technologies to help private individuals access to space. The objective was to engineer cheap space flights for space travel. Its spacecraft, named New Shepard launched into suborbital space and returned to earth.
Bezos also has an interest in media, as evidenced by his 2013 purchase of The Washington Post, which he wished to transform into a most powerful national and even global publication.
Amazon has also forayed into the entertainment segment, with its Amazon Prime membership offering subscribers access to popular movies, TV shows, over 2 million songs, thousands of playlists and stations, gaming content, books, magazines, etc.
Through an investment arm, named Bezos Expeditions, Amazon has picked up stakes in startups belonging to different segments, both listed and private unicorns such as Airbnb, Uber and Nextdoor.
After several years of deliberations, Amazon has recently made some concrete moves toward expansion into the multi-billion dollar pharmacy market, according to media reports. The company is reportedly working to hire a person to head the business. In Japan, the company already sells drugs approved by pharmacists on its online portal.
Amazon's recent agreement to buy Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) is a bid to flex its muscle in grocery retailing. Amazon's expertise in logistics and supply chain is seen to create huge disruptions in the grocery industry.
Amazon is testing Amazon Prime Air, which is a delivery system used to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes, or less, using unmanned vehicles, called drones. In addition, the company has robots, working in its warehouses to pick and pack items. Recent reports also suggest that Amazon is eyeing driverless car technology in a bid to reach deliveries in double-quick time.
Image Credit: By Yolo0906 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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