Amazon may be the world’s most ambitious company. Not content to dominate the book industry, the so-called “Everything Store” has branched out into an astonishing variety of businesses, many of which you may not be aware of. Here are a few unlikely industries in which Jeff Bezos and Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) are flexing their muscles.
Taking over the tube
Amazon originally set up its server infrastructure to ensure that its own site would remain online during busy periods like the Christmas season, before realizing it could also rent it out to others when the servers were idle. Customers of Amazon Web Services includeNetflix (NFLX), Pintrest and even the CIA.
Amazon has a dedicated site for scientific, industrial and business equipment known asAmazonSupply, which allows businesses to make bulk purchases of things like pipe fittings, wiring, power tools and microscopes. In addition to free two-day shipping, it even offers businesses lines of credit.
Through its Alexa subsidiary, Amazon offers a monthly subscription service that allows websites to keep track of things like traffic trends, demographics, social media engagement and comparisons with competitors. Alexa also provides website “audits” that provide customers with recommendations on security, usability and search-engine relevance.
“Built for and by teachers” — that’s how Amazon describes TenMarks, its e-learning software. The program — already used in more than 25,000 schools — offers video and interactive math lessons, adjusting instruction on the fly depending on the strengths or weaknesses of individual students. TenMarks also provides automated grading, and gives teachers analysis of where students are struggling.