retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and pretty soon you;re talking about real money ... and money that can help one of America’s great retail stories become more of an economic power and competitive threat.

Reuters has a story this morning about how Amazon.com’s cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services (AWS) - which counts among its customers organizations like NASA, the U.S. Department of State, Siemens, Pfizer and Nasdaq - may be its next billion-dollar business.

According to the story, “Amazon doesn't disclose AWS results. However, a spokeswoman said the business has hundreds of thousands of customers in more than 190 countries.

“Analysts and investors get a sense of how fast AWS is growing by looking at how many pieces of data, or objects, are stored by the unit's S3 service, which sells storage on off-site servers, which is known as the cloud.

“At the end of the second quarter, S3 held more than 449 billion objects, up 71 percent from the end of last year, according to the official AWS blog.”

Last year, AWS generated revenue of about a half-billion dollars. But, as fast as it is growing, Reuters notes that it remains just a small part of the overall Amazon picture; on Tuesday, it is expected to report that second quarter revenue of more than $9 billion.

But the bigger it gets, and the greater economic power it has, the more of a competitive threat that Amazon becomes to other companies that sell the same stuff it does. And these days, that’s a big group. So big, that it is Eye-Opening.
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