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Amazon.com Serves 10 Millionth Customer

Amazon.com Inc. turned another page in the annals of successful e-tailing Monday with its announcement that it had served its 10 millionth customer, the first e-commerce site to do so, in less than four years.

Amazon began online bookselling in July of 1995 and by October 1997, it became the first e-tailer to serve 1 million customers. By June 1998 Amazon reached 3 million customers and CDs were added to its inventory, followed by video offerings five months later. In 1998, Amazon totaled 6.2 million customers and has since launched Amazon.com Auctions, as well as a free e-greeting card service.

Today's news that it reached the 10th million customer milestone represents a tenfold gain during the past 21 months, the company said, surging beyond the technically-inclined user to a more mainstream consumer base.

"If anyone had predicted in 1995 that we'd have 10 million Amazonians by now, they'd have been locked up as dangerous," said Amazon.com founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos. "We certainly didn't expect it, and we're extremely grateful. We're celebrating -- but quickly -- and taking this opportunity to re-commit ourselves to our customers."

"We're especially pleased that one of the significant components of recent customer growth has been auction participants," Bezos said.

Aiming to be the world's most "consumer-centric" company, Amazon also runs Web sites in Germany and the UK.

In addition, the company runs Web-based address book, calendar and reminder service PlanetAll, the Internet Movie Database, and LiveBid.com, a live-event auction site. Amazon has also made several investments in sites including drugstore.com, Pets.com and HomeGrocer.com.