Topics: Customer relationship management, Supply chain management, Customer service Pages: 9 (2785 words) Published: October 30, 2013


Amazon is an American multinational electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, It is the biggest online retailer in world, although many consider that it is more a leading software developer or "information systems' company with a little pick, pack and ship service" (Hof, 2003). This world-class retailer, which began doing business as an online bookseller in the mid 90s, has changed with the time and currently it offers its customers a wide variety of products such as electronics, clothes, beauty products, and so on. In addition, Amazon operates as a service provider allowing other retailers to sell on its site and it also commercializes cloud storage services and its own tablet post-PC device –Kindle-. (Business week, 2003; Hof, 2003; Jenkinson, 2005) Therefore, Amazon has become the Net's premier shopping destination in 2011, and data, information technology and information systems constitute its most valuable assets. (Manjoo, 2011). Amazon has separate retail websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and China, with international shipping to certain other countries for some of its products. It is also expected to launch its websites in Poland, Netherlands, and Sweden. Services offered by Amazon

Amazon requires huge data centers and high-speed Internet connections to run its systems. Through vast economies of scale, Amazon is able to achieve incredibly low prices for data storage and bandwidth. Around 2005, the company decided that it could leverage those low costs into a new business selling Internet-based services. The company offers an online data storage service called S3. For a monthly fee of about 15 cents per gigabyte stored plus 15 cents per gigabyte of data transferred, any person or company can transfer and store data on Amazon servers [Markoff 2006]. Through a similar service (EC2), any company can use the company’s Web servers to deliver digital content to customers. The company essentially serves as a Web host, but instead of paying fixed costs, you pay 10 cents per virtual server per hour plus bandwidth costs. Amazon’s network can handle bursts up to 1 gigabit per se-cond. The system creates virtual servers, running the Linux kernel, and you can run any software you want [Gralla 2006]. By 2011, the company had several locations providing S3 and EC2 Web services. It also offered online relational database services using either MySQL or the Oracle DBMS. Anyone can pay to store data in the DBMS, with charges be-ing levied per hour, per data stored, and per data transferred. The point is that Amazon handles all of the maintenance and other companies avoid fixed costs. Even government agencies are adopting the benefits of storing data in these cloud services—including those run by Amazon. For example, the U.S. Treasury Department moved is public Web sites to the Amazon cloud. [Pratt 2011]. Perhaps the most unusual service is Mturk. The name derives from an 18-century joke where a “mechanical” chess-playing machine surprised European leaders and royalty by beating many expert players. The trick was that a human was hidden under the board and moved the pieces with magnets. Amazon’s trick is to use human power to solve problems. Companies post projects on the Mturk site and offer to pay a price for piecemeal work. Any individual can sign up and perform a task and get paid based on the amount of work completed. Amazon takes a 10 percent commission above the fee. For example, the company Casting Words places audio files on the site and pays people 42 cents to transcribe one mi-nute of audio files into text [Markoff 2006]. The Amazon EC2 and S3 services suffered some problems in the summer of 2011. A configuration error during an upgrade in the East Coast facility triggered a cascade that delayed all services in the facility. Internet services including Foursquare and...
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