Over the last 18 years Amazon's Jeff Bezos has built an empire that redefined commerce in the digital age, and in 2012 his mastery of e-commerce continued. The company is expected to generate $62 billion in revenue this year, up from $48 billion in 2011. Fortune crowned Bezos the 2012 businessperson of the year, characterizing him as the "ultimate disruptor."
His disruptiveness first destroyed the traditional retail book industry, and now he is competing with Apple, Netflix, Google, and others to dominate digital music, movie, TV show, and app sales. In 2012, Bezos got more serious about competing with Apple, Google, Samsung, and others with the introduction of new Kindle Fires, with the added incentive of selling the capable tablets at cost to lure more people into Amazon's online stores. In 2013, a Kindle smartphone is expected to launch, making it even easier for shoppers to send their business to Amazon.
Bezos' quest for a Kindle in every pocket and selling everything imaginable is based on a very long-term view and obsessive focus on customers. "We innovate by starting with the customer and working backwards," Bezos says. So far Wall Street is betting that Bezos, despite Amazon's paltry 2 percent margin, can continue to disrupt.
For more on this story, see Amazon's Bezos is Fortune's businessperson of the year.