It didn't take long for Apple to have some company.
Amazon on Tuesday became only the second publicly traded U.S. company to reach a market value of $1 trillion, hitting the mark almost exactly a month after Apple became the first.
Amazon has emerged as one of the most dominant companies in the world, having become the leading ecommerce retailer as well as one of the leading cloud computing providers. The company has also become something of a corporate boogeyman, able to send shares in other companies spiraling if Amazon hints at entering their industries.
Amazon was founded on July 5, 1994, by Jeff Bezos, who remains the company's CEO. It initially focused on selling books, but expanded into other goods and eventually began to offer services such as Amazon Prime, a yearly membership that offers free shipping on many items as well as music and video services.
The company lost money for years as Bezos focused on building up a customer base and expanding the company's delivery capabilities. But in recent years, its stock price climbed sharply as the company has begun to turn a profit. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Amazon announced more than double the profits that Wall Street analysts had expected.
Amazon shares touched $2,050 in midday trading, briefly putting it over the mark of $1 trillion in market value. The shares have since declined slightly and remain up 1.3 percent on the day at around $2,037.
The company almost doubled its value this year, starting 2018 with a valuation of $580 billion. Profits from Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing business, significantly boosted the company's bottom line in the second quarter, and investors have continued to demonstrate unrelenting confidence in the Seattle-based company’s acquisitions and explorations into new markets including healthcare, advertising, and groceries.
Amazon's success has also made it a target of growing criticism. President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Amazon, and the company has become a hot topic among academics and consumer groups that worry Amazon has become too powerful.
Amazon has also come under scrutiny for the conditions in its many fulfillment centers, which are large warehouses in which workers prepare shipments. Some Amazon employees have alleged mistreatment by the company.
Amazon's success has made Bezos the richest man in modern history, according to Bloomberg, with a net worth of more than $150 billion.
In his letter to shareholders this year, Bezos wrote: "We continue to aspire to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and we recognize this to be no small or easy challenge. We know there is much we can do better, and we find tremendous energy in the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."
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