Trending: Amazon narrows HQ2 search to 20 cities, moving to next phase in contest for $5B economic prize

employees’s growth in the past few years is nothing short of meteoric, and the chart above shows exactly what’s going on. The company now employs 132,000 people, a workforce that now dwarfs Google and Microsoft.

bezossmallThe hiring does not appear to be slowing down, with Amazon embarking on a massive headquarters expansion in downtown Seattle and gobbling up an extra space it can find. It also continue to add fulfillment centers across the globe, adding lower-level shipping and factory work.

Even so, is becoming a force, perhaps the most feared technology giant on the planet. One of the areas that is growing rapidly is Amazon Web Services, which the company said in a statement “grew by thousands of employees this past year, expanding AWS infrastructure, enterprise and public sector sales capabilities and allowing the team to innovate at an accelerating pace.”

The growth is coming at a cost. Wall Street hammered Amazon’s shares this week after it reported a quarterly loss of $126 million, above analysts expectations. The stock is down nearly 10 percent in trading Friday, giving it a market value of $148 billion. (Microsoft is valued at $366 billion, and Google is valued at $404 billion).

One thing that has to be considered as Amazon continues to grow is whether it will be able to retain its smartest people and entrepreneurial culture as it gets bigger. That seems like a big management challenge for Jeff Bezos and crew. The company also is fairly unique among tech titans that it is building its headquarters in the city, rather than expanding in the suburbs.

“We could have built a suburban campus,” Bezos said at the company’s recent shareholder meeting, noting that a location outside of the city might have saved the company money. “I think it would have been the wrong decision.”

As a side note, Microsoft’s number of 115,000 employees reflects the addition of Nokia’s workforce, followed by the initial 13,000 job cuts announced by the company last week.

Here’s a look at just some of the company’s planned expansion in the Seattle area. Click for larger image:


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