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It was another big year for, with the expansion of the company’s Kindle and Kindle Fire lineup, the continued growth of Amazon Web Services, major sales tax truces across the country, Amazon’s rapid growth and expansion in Seattle, and moves by the company’s core e-commerce business into new areas such as fashion and wine.

But the defining moment, clarifying and cementing Amazon’s role in the technology industry, was delivered as an aside by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during the company’s Kindle launch event in September. Speaking from behind a podium, the Amazon CEO explained the company’s approach with a single sentence that an accompanying slide called the “Amazon Doctrine.”

“We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices,” he said.

We’ll recognize the Newsmakers of the Year at the GeekWire Gala, Dec. 6 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Details and Tickets Here.

In other words, Amazon is seeking to align its interests more closely with its customers, selling devices at cost and making money when users are motivated to purchase content and goods for or through those devices.

Bezos didn’t mention Apple when he said that, but the distinction was clear, and the difference promises to define the competition between the two tech giants in the years ahead.

We’re pleased to name Jeff Bezos to our list of GeekWire Newsmakers of the Year for 2012.

In addition to his Amazon role, Bezos made news as the backer of space venture Blue Origin, making it clear that the Seattle-area company would continue to forge ahead after the destruction of one of its unmanned test vehicles in the skies over Texas last year.

We’ll be spotlighting all of our 2012 Newsmakers on GeekWire over the next month, leading up to the GeekWire Gala on Dec. 6 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Many of the newsmakers from the list will be joining us and the rest of the tech community on that night to mark a remarkable year of news.

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