Service Provider Cloud

Amazon's cloud biz crosses a $10B threshold

Cloud and online retail giant Amazon saw its stock price dip slightly as it reported that its first-quarter profits were less than what Wall Street expected. But the company is still hauling in billions in revenue every month and one of its most profitable businesses – Amazon Web Services – now brings in $10 billion a quarter.

Amazon, seeming always under fire for unsafe working conditions and creating desperate circumstances for its hourly employees, said it will spend $4 billion in the second quarter on helping keep its workers safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world's richest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, did his best to make it sound like forking over three months of pure profit was some kind of selfless act.

"If you’re a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we’re not thinking small," Bezos is quoted as saying in the company's earnings press release. "Under normal circumstances, in this coming Q2, we’d expect to make some $4 billion or more in operating profit. But these aren’t normal circumstances. Instead, we expect to spend the entirety of that $4 billion, and perhaps a bit more, on COVID-related expenses getting products to customers and keeping employees safe."

During the quarter, Amazon reported a 26% increase in net sales to $75.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with $59.7 billion during the year-ago quarter. The company's net income decreased to $2.5 billion in the first quarter, or $5.01 a share, from a net income of $3.6 billion, or $7.09 a share, a year ago.

In the cloud, Amazon became larger and more powerful. Its AWS unit reported an operating net income of $3.08 billion on net sales of $10.2 billion during the quarter. That sales figure is up 33% from last year and AWS is providing more than three quarters of Amazon's overall operating income.

Meanwhile, cloud competitor Microsoft said its commercial cloud revenue was $13.3 billion during the quarter ended March 31. The two firms are likely measuring what's counted as "cloud" a bit differently, but there's no mistaking that both are raking it in as the cloud becomes the centerpiece of their strategies and their customers' next-gen networks.

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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