Jeff Bezos, according to most news reports, was researching the Internet in the early 1990s doing work for a company called D.E. Shaw. That was when he made the connection between book sales and Electronic commerce, since book distributors kept detailed electronic lists. He gave the idea of selling books online to his employer, but the Shaw company saw no value in it.
Bezos resigned and moved to Seattle, where the publisher Ingram kept a large warehouse. He founded Amazon.com in 1994, and in 1995, after months of research, launched the company's web site.
The company was doing $20,000 a week by September, 1995, and the original team kept improving the site (developing a shopping cart, customer reviews, and e-mail verification.) The company went public in 1997 and it became more aggressive in its marketing, forming partnerships with Yahoo and AOL.
In a short time, Amazon's market cap was equal to the retail outlets of Barnes & Noble and Borders Group. The business model of Amazon was to sell books and then buy them from distributors, eliminating the problem of expensive inventory.
In 1999, the company raised an additional $1.25 billion in a bond offering and bought companies such as "drugstore.com, HomeGrocer.com, Pets.com, Gear.com, and wedding gift registry Della.com, among others; in early 2000 it added Greenlight.com (cars) and living.com (furniture), which later filed for bankruptcy. It also bought the catalog businesses of Back to
Basics and Tool Crib of the North in 1999" (Hoovers Online, 2001).
Also in 1999, the company began offering online auctions and became a partner with Sotheby's Auction house. Today, Amazon.com has customers in all 50 states and more than 150 countries, with distribution facilities in New Castle, Delaware; McDonough, Georgia; Coffeyville, Kansas; Campbellsville and Lexington, Kentucky; Fernley, Nevada; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Seattle; the UK; and Germany.