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Amazon Profits As AWS Cloud Pays Off

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Amazon smashes analyst expectations as revenues and profits soar due to strong cloud and retail performance

The continued success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) helped Amazon deliver strong first quarter results, which were also boosted by strong sales of its new Fire tablets.

For the first quarter ending 31 March, Amazon posted a net profit of $513 million (£350m) compared to a net loss of $57 million (£39m) in the same year ago period.

Stellar Growth

Amazon Web ServicesAnd there was equally good news on the revenue side, as sales rose a staggering 28 percent to $29.1 billion (£19.9bn), compared to $22.7 billion (£15.5bn) a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenues of $27.98 billion.

“Amazon devices are the top selling products on Amazon, and customers purchased more than twice as many Fire tablets than first quarter last year,” said Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

Shares in company rose 13 percent to $679 (£464) in extended trading on Thursday.

In the last quarter it is clear that AWS turned in the star performance for the e-commerce giant, after revenues at the division climbed 64 percent to $2.56 billion (£1.7bn). Previously in its fourth quarter AWS generated revenues of $2.4 billion (£1.7bn), showing that AWS remains on a healthy growth path.

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AWS Performance

AWS has expanded significantly in the past year, setting up new wind farms to power its data centres with renewable energy, opening up new cloud regions and entering the Internet of Things arena.

It also continues to add many more features and services as well, and dominates the public cloud market ahead of competitors such as Microsoft Azure and Google. Earlier this month Amazon promoted Andy Jassy to CEO Of Amazon Web Services, in recognition of the strong performance at the cloud unit.

One potential fly in the ointment for Amazon came in March when the US securities regulator (SEC) ordered that Amazon shareholders to vote on a proposal over salaries between men and women employees.

Amazon was one of a number of tech firms approached over gender pay by activist investor Arjuna Capital. It asked firms to reveal what they were doing to address gender pay equality, during their annual shareholder ballot.

Amazon was the only firm to approach the Securities and Exchange Commission to gain permission to omit the proposal from a shareholder vote.

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