Is it OK if we call $53bn-a-quarter Amazon the Bit Barns and Ignoble?

Get it, like Barnes and No– oh, just gimme that beer. It's been 5 o'clock somewhere for hours

Amazon, a cloud computing monster with a gift shop tacked on the side, watched its sales surpass $52bn during its latest quarter.

Despite big retail sales, much of the giant's profits in the second quarter of the year came from its Amazon Web Services division. The figures for Q2 2018, ending June 30, were revealed on Thursday, and here's our summary:

  • Revenues of $52.9bn were up 39 per cent from the year-ago total of $38bn.
  • Net income of $2.5bn was up from the meager $197m haul Amazon reported in Q2 last year.
  • Non-GAAP earnings per share of $5.07 blew away analyst forecasts of $2.49 and jumped from $0.40 in Q2 2017.
  • AWS actually accounted for the bulk of Amazon's net income, thanks to $6.1bn in revenues on the quarter and a $1.64bn operating income. Sales from AWS were up 49 per cent from Q2 2017's total of $4.1bn.
  • Retail continues to be a high-revenue, high-cost business for Amazon. While revenues for non-AWS businesses were $46.78bn, expenses of $45.44bn meant retail only netted about $1.34bn in operating income. In other words, AWS's success allows Amazon to aggressively run its online souk.
  • Outside of North America, things were even worse for the Bezos Bunch. International business managed to run at a $494m loss on the quarter, up at least from the $724m Amazon dropped in Q2 2017.

It has been a busy quarter for AWS. Amazon noted that, over the last three months, the cloud service has added an Elastic Container service for Kubernetes, the availability of its DeepLens camera line for machine learning, and the launch of both the Neptune graph database service and the Snowball Edge Computing appliance.

Despite the phenomenal numbers for AWS, CEO Jeff Bezos chose to use the quarterly report to talk up another Amazon product: the Alexa virtual assistant and its ongoing efforts to expand both its range of devices and its geographic availability.

"We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are," Bezos said.

"There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year."

Amazon shares were up 3.26 per cent in after-hours trading at $58.95 apiece. ®

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