The rapid growth of Amazon.com was echoed Thursday on Wall Street, as the company’s stock briefly topped $300 for the first time ever during the trading session. Shares rose $7.27, or 2.5 percent, to close at $299.60.
Investors bet big on Amazon just one day after Apple lost its e-book antitrust case in court, which should keep Amazon as the dominant player in the e-book market amid the legal turmoil.
Also, ChannelAdvisor reported that Amazon beat analyst expectations with a 31 percent year-over-year sales increase in June.
There is a lot going on right now for CEO Jeff Bezos and his company. For starters, there’s the long-awaited Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business that just expanded to California. The company is also investing in more geographies, with Amazon India as a new addition just this month.
On top of that, Amazon is more or less taking over the South Lake Union area of Seattle, a once gritty section of the city north of the downtown core. The company has several construction plans for the Denny Triangle neighborhood, including three skyscrapers totaling some 3.3 million square feet. As part of that development, Amazon is looking to build a massive spherical greenhouse-like structure.
Bezos held the annual shareholders meeting in May, and opened up by saying the company is “incredibly lucky” to have 209 million active customers — people who have purchased something from Amazon in the last 12 months. He then reiterated his famous line about it being “Day One” for the company, with a new twist.
“In fact, I believe that the alarm clock hasn’t even gone off yet,” he said. “We’re still asleep in our beds, far from having even pressed the snooze button.”
Amazon’s worldwide headcount is also on the rise, as the chart below shows. The company actually topped 91,000 employees at the end of the first quarter, and likely will top Microsoft in worldwide headcount this quarter, though a large percentage of that employee base works in fulfillment.
Though as Amazon continues to grow, many wonder if the company is doing enough to support its hometown. In a poll last year following a The Seattle Times’ four-part series on the topic, 45 percent of GeekWire readers said that Amazon should work harder to be a better corporate citizen in Seattle. One of the company’s earliest investors, angel investor and political activist Nick Hanauer, said he’s disappointed that the company he helped get off the ground hasn’t done more to give back.
Previously on GeekWire: Amazon agrees to give patent to former employee — but dispute isn’t over yet