This excerpt taken from the AMZN 8-K filed Apr 17, 2009.
The customer-experience path weve chosen requires us to have an efficient cost structure. The good news for shareowners is that we see much opportunity for improvement in that regard. Everywhere we look (and we all look), we find what experienced Japanese manufacturers would call muda or waste.2 I find this incredibly energizing. I see it as potential years and years of variable and fixed productivity gains and more efficient, higher velocity, more flexible capital expenditures.
Our primary financial goal remains maximizing long-term free cash flow and doing so with high rates of return on invested capital. We are investing heartily in Amazon Web Services, in tools for third-party sellers, in digital media, in China, and in new product categories. And we make these investments with the belief that they can be of meaningful scale and can clear our high bar for returns.
Around the world, amazing, inventive, and hard-working Amazonians are putting customers first. I take great pride in being part of this team. We thank you, our owners, for your support, for your encouragement, and for joining us on our continuing adventure.
As always, I attach our 1997 letter to shareowners. Even as the rate of change accelerates, we hope and believe our focus on what stays the same should serve us well.
Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer