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AWS Clears the $5 Billion Mark in Q4 Earnings

Amazon Web Services (AWS) earned nearly $17.5 billion in revenue for all of 2017, according to Amazon.com's fiscal fourth quarter financial earnings report on Thursday.

For the latest quarter, AWS raked in $5.1 billion, a 44.6% increase from the same period last year and an 11.5% increase from the third quarter. Wall Street analysts had been expecting Q4 revenue to be in the $4.9 billion range.

Operating income was $1.4 billion, a year-over-year increase of 46.2%.

AWS accounted for 8% of its parent company's total business in Q4. In keeping with previous quarters, AWS led Amazon.com's other two business units in year-over-year growth. (The North America retail segment grew by 42% year over year, and the International segment by 29%.)

One other positive note: AWS notched a slight uptick in year-over-year growth in Q4. The platform's growth rate peaked 10 quarters ago, when it skyrocketed by 81 percent. While this most recent quarter falls well short of that high, it's an improvement over the trend of decelerating growth of recent quarters (see table).

Reporting Period AWS Revenue (Billions) Year-over-Year Revenue Growth (%)
Q4 of 2017 $5.1 45
Q3 of 2017 $4.6 42
Q2 of 2017 $4.1 42
Q1 of 2017 $3.7 43
Q4 of 2016 $3.5 47
Q3 of 2016 $3.2 55
Q2 of 2016 $2.9 58
Q1 of 2016 $2.6 64
Q4 of 2015 $2.4 69
Q3 of 2015 $2.1 78
Q2 of 2015 $1.8 81
Q1 of 2015 * $1.6 49
* First time reported as a separate line item.

In its earnings report announcement, Amazon.com attributed AWS' growth to ongoing cloud infrastructure investments; some high-profile customer wins; and the nearly 500 new services and features that it rolled out in Q4, many of them announced at last November's re:Invent conference.

By comparison, Microsoft Azure, widely considered to be AWS' closest rival, grew its revenues by 98% year over year, according to Microsoft's most recent earnings report this week. While Azure significantly trails AWS in terms of share, it has been showing signs of making inroads against the market leader, even taking the lead in some segments such as large enterprises.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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