- In 1995, Bezos started Amazon.com as a book-selling website that provided customers with a unique shopping experience that only the Internet could offer. Bezos' website allowed customers to browse a large selection of books in one sitting without having to go to a bookstore. Amazon.com started with a bang, shipping orders to customers in 50 states and 45 countries within the first 30 days of business. The company rode that wave to its initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market in 1997.
- In May 1997, Amazon.com completed its IPO by putting three million shares up for trading on the New York Stock Exchange with a per-share value of $18. By the close of trading, Amazon.com's stock value closed at $23.50 per share after reaching a peak of $30 per share earlier in the day. Its first day of trading netted the company $70.5 million its opening day and increased the company's market value to $438 million. In spite of its impressive stock market debut, the company experienced slow growth following its IPO, causing shareholders to worry about their investments.
- In 1999, "Time" named Bezos its Person of the Year for his contribution to the world of e-commerce. For years following Amazon.com's IPO, the company operated with a deficit. After the fallout of the "dot com" bust of the late 1990s, Amazon.com remained in business and turned a $5 million profit, its first in years, during the last quarter of 2001. By the end of 2002, the company reported a $3.9 billion profit. In 2008, Amazon.com replaced Merrill Lynch on the "Standard and Poors" list of the 100 top businesses.
- From its meager beginning in Bezos' garage, Amazon.com has grown considerably since its one-man operational days in the mid 1990s. As of 2011, the company has more than 33,000 employees and operates customer service centers in 18 states and 10 countries. The company maintains five software development in five countries throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Since it started selling books in the 1990s, Amazon.com has steadily added a wider variety of products and services, including computers, music, tools, apparel and groceries.