Bbc news bitcoin. 1995: Amazon launches with online book sales

About sharing image source, Getty Images Earlier this week we learned that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will step down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant that he started in his garage nearly 30 years ago.

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Bitcoin peer to peer will make way for Andy Jassy, currently head of Amazon's cloud computing business, to take day-to-day control. Billionaire Mr Bezos won't entirely give up the reins, however, instead assuming the role of executive chairman.

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Today, Amazon is one of the most valuable public companies on the planet, with Mr Bezos vying with Tesla's Elon Musk for the title as world's richest man.

What started as a small online book retailer has become a global phenomenon, spanning home delivery, cloud computing, advances in artificial intelligence, and the streaming of movies and sports.

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And that has brought Amazon much criticism, ranging from accusations it has contributed to the decline of the High Street to complaints about working conditions in its vast warehouses.

So how has the Amazon empire been built?

Amazon's bbc news bitcoin can be clearly seen in its financial results. The huge success of the online giant is also evident in its revenue.

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Mr Bezos's success has been driven by the firm's global expansion, but mainly by expanding into a wide variety of other sectors. Video streaming services and devices, cloud services and most recently groceries with the acquisition of Whole Foods Market have allowed the company to compete directly with technology giants such as Facebook, Apple, Google and Netflix.

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And it all began with selling books. Then ebooks arrived and Amazon was smart enough to become a key player in that market too.

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Soon, Mr Bezos's empire grew to include electronics, toys and kitchen utensils. The growing network of US warehouses helped extend what the company could offer, dramatically increasing its popularity with customers.

Ten years later, Amazon had become the biggest online seller in the US and around the world.

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Amazon Prime was launched inoffering quicker shipping for selected items. This boosted sales of all sorts of goods. More bbc news bitcoin million paying customers are now members of subscription service Amazon Prime, which also offers video and music streaming.

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It is the second-largest paid membership programme in the world. When ebooks started to become popular, Mr Bezos launched the Kindle ineventually becoming the global leader in the sector. The Amazon smart devices department grew exponentially, facing fierce competition from Apple and Google in the early s.

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Amazon, however, was the first company to launch a smart device: the Echo speaker, equipped with the firm's own artificial intelligence system, Alexa. It is now the third-largest seller of smart devices in the US. Today, the future of Amazon looks a bit more complicated than just selling products on the internet. Having successfully dominated online retail, the firm has now set its sights on expanding its services - and perhaps surprisingly, into physical stores - to create a new way of shopping.

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