We serve developers and enterprises of all sizes through Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides access to technology infrastructure that enables virtually any type of business.
serve authors and independent publishers with Kindle Direct Publishing, an online platform that lets independent authors and publishers choose a 70% royalty option and make their books available in the Kindle Store, along with Amazons own
publishing arm, Amazon Publishing. We also offer programs that allow authors, musicians, filmmakers, app developers, and others to publish and sell content.
Our businesses are rapidly evolving and intensely competitive.
Our current and potential competitors include: (1) physical-world retailers, publishers, vendors, distributors, manufacturers, and producers of our products; (2) other online e-commerce and mobile e-commerce sites, including sites that
sell or distribute digital content; (3) media companies, web portals, comparison shopping websites, and web search engines, either directly or in collaboration with other retailers; (4) companies that provide e-commerce services, including
website development, fulfillment, customer service, and payment processing; (5) companies that provide information storage or computing services or products, including infrastructure and other web services; and (6) companies that design,
manufacture, market, or sell consumer electronics, telecommunication, and media devices. We believe that the principal competitive factors in our retail businesses include selection, price, and convenience, including fast and reliable fulfillment.
Additional competitive factors for our seller and enterprise services include the quality, speed, and reliability of our services and tools. Many of our current and potential competitors have greater resources, longer histories, more customers, and
greater brand recognition. They may secure better terms from suppliers, adopt more aggressive pricing, and devote more resources to technology, infrastructure, fulfillment, and marketing. Other companies also may enter into business combinations or
alliances that strengthen their competitive positions.
We regard our trademarks, service marks, copyrights, patents, domain names, trade dress, trade secrets, proprietary technologies, and
similar intellectual property as critical to our success, and we rely on trademark, copyright, and patent law, trade-secret protection, and confidentiality and/or license agreements with our employees, customers, partners, and others to protect our
proprietary rights. We have registered, or applied for the registration of, a number of U.S. and international domain names, trademarks, service marks, and copyrights. Additionally, we have filed U.S. and international patent applications covering
certain of our proprietary technology. We have licensed in the past, and expect that we may license in the future, certain of our proprietary rights to third parties.
Our business is affected by seasonality, which historically
has resulted in higher sales volume during our fourth quarter, which ends December 31. We recognized 35%, 36%, and 38% of our annual revenue during the fourth quarter of 2012, 2011, and 2010.
approximately 88,400 full-time and part-time employees at December 31, 2012. However, employment levels fluctuate due to seasonal factors affecting our business. Additionally, we utilize independent contractors and temporary personnel to
supplement our workforce, particularly on a seasonal basis. Although we