Wow, Amazon Web Services had another bang-up quarter

AWS SVP Andy Jassy speaking at AWS re:Invent.

Amazon’s overall numbers may have underwhelmed Wall Street, but it looks like Amazon Web Services continued its march toward world domination last quarter; although as usual, it’s sort of hard to see what’s really going on.

For the fourth quarter, the North America Sales “Other” category — which includes AWS — hit $1.17 billion, up 52 percent from $769 million for the year-ago quarter. For the full year, AWS (or other) hit $3.72 billion, up 58 percent from $2.35 billion

And here I must insert the usual disclaimer, per Amazon’s earnings report: This category “includes sales from non-retail activities, such as AWS sales, which are included in the North America segment, and advertising services and our co-branded credit card agreements, which are included in both segments.”

It’s hard to see any bad news here unless you look outside the AWS universe, where Google and Microsoft are building out prodigious public clouds of their own. AWS, launched in 2006, had the early-mover advantage and has reaped the rewards, but it also has some well-heeled rivals that seem intent on competing ferociously.

AWS has long lived under the shadow of the larger retail corporate entity, but last year, in a notable piece of hearsay, AWS SVP Andy Jassy said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos thought that AWS could one day be the company’s biggest business.


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