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Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley takes a look at the legacy left behind by Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos as he approaches his last day before stepping down on July 5, 2021.
DAN HOWLEY: On July 5, Jeff Bezos, the richest person on Earth, will officially step down as CEO of the company he founded in 1994. Amazon will continue to exist, of course. It's one of the wealthiest publicly traded companies in the world with a market capitalization of $1.7 trillion. But Bezos' decision to leave the post nevertheless marks a new era for the e-commerce giant.
Amazon initially started as an online bookstore before spreading its tendrils to different retail offerings. It went public in 1997 at $18 a share. But even after expanding its sales to other categories, the company didn't post a quarterly profit until Q4 2002. In 2005, Amazon launched its successful Prime service, which now boasts a whopping 200 million subscribers.
But it was Amazon Web Services that shot Amazon's valuation into the stratosphere. Launched in 2006, AWS is now more profitable than the core Amazon business, with the cloud platform bringing in $13.53 billion in net income in 2020, compared to the e-commerce side's $9.36 billion.
Of course, no discussion of Bezos and his legacy at Amazon is complete without the company's complicated labor relations history. Complaints of unsafe working conditions and debilitating hours have followed the company for years. And while it pays $15 an hour, Bezos' status as the richest person in history continues to draw scrutiny. And now the Teamsters Union is seeking to unionize Amazon.
As for Bezos, he'll remain as the company's chairman of the board and continue to own a 10.3% stake in the company. Outside of Amazon, he'll spend more time with his space efforts at Blue Origin.
Regardless of your opinion of his legacy, it's undeniable that Bezos has revolutionized how we shop, as well as the web, forever.
I'm Dan Howley for Yahoo Finance.