AMAZON REACHES a quarter of a century today and is celebrating by not making a big deal of it (after all, it's Prime Day next week).
On the 5 July 1994, one Jeff 'look at the size of my pendulum' Bezos filed papers to begin his website selling books from his base in Seattle, Washington, where the company HQ remains to this day.
It was a time when few had regular access to the internet - many of us having no clue what it actually was. Nevertheless, Bezos persevered and by 1997 had expanded the business to sell way more than just books. It was floated on the stock market right before the dot com boom and gave Bezos enough capital to buy sites in other territories and rebrand them as Amazon sites.
Amazon's expansion has been nothing short of phenomenal. As well as its e-commerce sites, it boasts the biggest cloud provider in the world (AWS), the biggest e-book platform in the world (Kindle) and of course the biggest name in smart speakers - Alexa/Echo.
It owns Whole Foods, its first foray into bricks and mortar, Amazon Go, the cashier-less supermarket, and high profile websites including Audible, Goodreads, Twitch and IMDB. In hardware, it already owns Ring and Blink, two rival systems that, nearly two years after purchase, still don't work together properly.
But despite Amazon's ongoing expansion, Amazon and its boss Jeff Bezos, now the richest man on the planet, have had a lot of flack down the years from the military application of its technology, worker conditions, environmental impact and most controversial of all, its tax affairs.
In fact, to celebrate its 25th, Amazon got a very special message from the leader of the opposition, (Oh) Jeremy Corbyn wishing the company "many happy tax returns":
"Dear Jeff. Happy Birthday. You owe the British people millions in taxes that pay for the public services that we all rely on. This year, pay your fair share of taxes, give your hard-working staff a pay rise and respect workers' rights. Many Happy Tax Returns, Jeremy."
Someone took their bitchy pills this morning.
Despite currently being valued at £955bn, Amazon paid less than £2m in taxes in the UK last year, raising questions of how they did it and whether its either legal or fair. Amazon maintains that it pays all appropriate taxes in the territories where it has bases.
As the company enters its second quarter-century as a store that sells everything and beyond, a resistance to the way it conducts its affairs is starting to emerge. The question is, have we gone so far now that we're completely reliant on Amazon, and to borrow a quote from Brokeback Mountain: "I wish I knew how to quit you". μ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
YouTube on the Tube
Claims that it hasn't ever actually worked