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Amazon is an American e-commerce company--the largest e-retailer in the country, in fact--and cloud computing giant. It was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. Originally known for selling books through its website (and later digital versions via its branded e-reader Kindle), Amazon has built up a customer service, inventory, and shipping empire that allows the site to shill everything from clothes to lawn furniture to janitorial supplies. It also sells digital content like movies, music, and apps; it's a consumer-electronics player with success stories (the wireless, voice-activated Echo speaker) and flops (Fire Phone); and its Amazon Web Services arm is a multi-billion-dollar provider of cloud-based services for business customers. It's even a Hollywood player, taking home two awards at the 2016 Golden Globes for original shows that stream through its Prime service. Yet the basics of Bezos's business philosophy--focusing on long-term customer loyalty over short-term profits and never-ending expansion into new businesses--have been surprisingly consistent over the years. And Amazon's obsession with efficiency explains why it's now delivering products in less than an hour via its Prime Now service, and why it hopes to be among the first e-commerce companies to deploy its own fleet of drones with Amazon Prime Air--a future fleet of autonomous vehicles that will deliver short-range packages instead of humans.


For evolving from commerce to cool cloud services

The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:

Investors may be less patient with Amazon's seeming lack of interest in profits than they've been in the past.

What to look out for:

News about efforts to deliver goods even more quickly and efficiently, ranging from its Prime Air drones to Prime Now same-day delivery to rumors of it leasing its own cargo planes
More competitive in Chinese markets with a January 2016 approval to ship its goods via ocean liners

Top perks for employees:

Amazon is well-known for not indulging in much in the way of flashy perks. But it does pay 95% of tuition for employees who takes classes in in-demand areas such as nursing and aircraft servicing--even if they have nothing to do with someone's responsibilities at Amazon.

Social media handles:

Twitter: @amazon
Instagram: @amazon

Diversity breakdown:

60% White
15% Black
13% Asian
9% Hispanic
3% Other (U.S. Only)
63% Male
37% Female (Global)

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  • 02 Facebook

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  • 03 CVS Health

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  • 04 Uber

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  • 05 Netflix

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  • 06 Amazon

    For evolving from commerce to cool cloud services
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  • 07 Apple

    For acing its China test
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  • 08 Alphabet

    For finding a better way to bet big
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  • 09 Black Lives Matter

    For turning the conversation about race into results
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  • 10 Taco Bell

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  • 11 Robinhood

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  • 12 Universal Studios

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  • 13 Huawei

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  • 14 Cyanogen

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  • 15 InMobi

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  • 16 Novocure

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  • 17 Bristol-Myers Squibb

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  • 18 Amgen

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  • 19 Spotify

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  • 20 GE

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  • 21 Warby Parker

    For prescribing social good at home
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  • 22 Riot Games

    For being in an e-sports league of its own
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  • 23 Farfetch

    For putting the world's best boutique-fashion retailers on a global stage
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  • 24 Everlane

    For matching our clothes to our values
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  • 25 Kit and Ace

    For designing luxe casual wear from next-generation performance fabrics
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  • 26 Slack

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  • 27 Rethink Robotics

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  • 28 SoulCycle

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  • 29 Sixteen String Jack Productions

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  • 30 SANAA

    For upping the ante on architectural biomimicry
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  • 31 Airbnb

    For democratizing authentic, local travel experiences
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  • 32 Generator

    For making hosteling hip
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  • 33 BeMyGuest

    For taking Asian travelers off the beaten path
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    For building a 21st-century change agent
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  • 35 Hudl

    For changing the game with mobile video
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  • 36 Box

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  • 37 Fitbit

    For taking health tracking mainstream
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  • 38 Snap

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  • 39 Sama

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  • 40 Midroll Media

    For transforming podcasting from passion to phenomenon
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    For building a better student loan
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    For using transparency to rebuild trust in banks
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  • 44 Vail Resorts

    For creating the ultimate travel loyalty program
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  • 45 Noora Health

    For improving the lives of surgery patients in India
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  • 46 Shyp

    For eliminating the hassle from sending packages
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  • 47 Shopify

    For enabling businesses to pursue retail everywhere
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  • 48 Babbel

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  • 49 Jaunt

    For becoming the first VR media company
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  • 50 Hasbro

    For mastering the modern art of corporate storytelling
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Walmart, Apple, Google, Microsoft
Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos
$280 billion
public or private
$71.3 billion (through Q3 2015)
$114 million (through Q3 2015)
More than 244 million active customer accounts
Seattle, WA

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