Amazon delivers hefty profits, led by web services

San Francisco (AFP) –


Internet colossus Amazon on Thursday reported that its quarterly profit more than doubled on soaring revenue from online commerce and cloud services.

Amazon said it earned $1.6 billion in the first three months of this year on revenue that soared to $51 billion from $36 billion in the same period last year.

Amazon shares that finished the formal trading day up climbed more than six percent to $1,617 in after-hours trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

The Seattle-based firm spotlighted the juggernaut growth of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division, which hosts services and content that companies in the internet cloud.

AWS leads big-name rivals Microsoft and Google in the market that has boom with the lifestyle shift to accessing movies, music, games and more from the array of online devices.

"AWS had the unusual advantage of a seven-year head start before facing like-minded competition, and the team has never slowed down," Amazon founder and chief Jeff Bezos said in the first-quarter earnings release.

"That's why you're seeing this remarkable acceleration in AWS growth, now for two quarters in a row."

Amazon also reported sales from its online stores rose 18 percent from the same period a year ago to $26.94 billion.

Amazon has also found success with its own streaming music and movie services, one of the perks of its Amazon Prime, which the company says now has 100 million members.

Streaming television is included in an Amazon Prime subscription service that also offers free, fast delivery of products purchased at the online retail powerhouse.

Amazon has been broadening its business by moving into new sectors, notably with the acquisition of the Whole Foods grocery chain.

The research firm eMarketer said online commerce represents about 60 percent of Amazon's business but that it also will generate $3.37 billion in global advertising this year.

Amazon's success has made Bezos the world's richest individual, and the company has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump, who has argued that the tech giant gets a sweetheart deal from the US Postal service, a claim which is disputed by many analysts.

Separately Thursday, the US National Football League announced that it is renewing a partnership with Amazon Prime Video to deliver a live streams of Thursday night football games.

Streamed games will be available to the more than 100 million Amazon Prime members worldwide in over 200 countries and territories, according to the NFL.

"We are excited to work with them again for the next two seasons,? NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp said in a release.