| 13.8°C Dublin

Close

Premium

Profile: The relentless rise of Jeff Bezos and his Amazonian empire

As the tech giant announces 1,000 new jobs in Ireland, John Meagher profiles the world's richest man and traces how he built a globe-straddling business that one former executive claims carries a 'vein of toxicity'

Close

Fanatical vision: Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man

Fanatical vision: Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man

The Washington Post via Getty Im

Charity: MacKenzie Scott received a $35bn stake in Amazon after her divorce

Charity: MacKenzie Scott received a $35bn stake in Amazon after her divorce

An early version of the Amazon website

An early version of the Amazon website

Jess Bezon in his Seattle warehouse in 1997

Jess Bezon in his Seattle warehouse in 1997

Getty Images

/

Fanatical vision: Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man

In the first decade of this century, a start-up called Quidsi became something of a sensation on the US east coast. Through its website, diapers.com, it sold nappies and assorted baby products. Its keen prices and free delivery ensured that tens of thousands of new parents deserted bricks-and-mortar shops and did their baby shopping online. For a short time, it looked as though Quidsi was unstoppable.

It wasn't long before the biggest fish in the pond, Amazon, started to look at Quidsi with interest. It offered a price for diapers.com it assumed Quidsi couldn't refuse. It refused.

Amazon walked away and set up its own baby goods department, offering customers a 30pc discount if they took out monthly subscriptions. It rolled out an 'Amazon Mom' programme that included a year's free delivery of nappies, rash creams and so on. Quidsi's alarmed executives reckoned Amazon was taking a loss of $100m a quarter just to get in on the market.