Amazon's Earnings Show Uptick In Sales, But A Narrower Net Profit

It's earnings season in the technology world yet again, and as usual, Amazon is one of the big guys worth paying attention. As Apple and Samsung rake in billions in net profit, Amazon has yet again shown that it's really not in the business of clearing absurd numbers. It's just in the business of providing low prices, good service and jobs for a lot of people. That's probably an oversimplification, but look at the figures. First quarter sales were up 22% to an astounding $16.07 billion, but the net profit line is but $82 million. That's incredibly low margin, and in fact, the net income is down 37% year over year.

But Amazon has never seemed to care much about that. So long as it's in the black, it's in the black. Operating income decreased 6% to $181 million in the first quarter, compared with $192 million in first quarter 2012. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on operating income was $12 million. Of course, Amazon has been dabbling in all sorts of other areas in order to hedge its bets, and the CEO had a thing or two to say about precisely that.

“Amazon Studios is working on a new way to greenlight TV shows. The pilots are out in the open where everyone can have a say,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of “I have my personal picks and so do members of the Amazon Studios team, but the exciting thing about our approach is that our opinions don’t matter. Our customers will determine what goes into full-season production. We hope Amazon Originals can become yet another way for us to create value for Prime members.”


  • expanded selection for Prime Instant Video, announcing new licensing agreements with A+E Networks, CBS Corporation, FX, PBS Distribution and Scripps Networks Interactive, bringing exclusive access to popular television series such as Downton Abbey, Justified and Under the Dome as well as shows from HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel. Prime Instant Video now includes more than 38,000 movies and TV episodes that are available for Prime members to watch at no additional charge.
  • Amazon Studios, the original film and series production arm of, debuted 14 original comedy and kids pilots. The pilots, which feature stars such as John Goodman, Jeffrey Tambor and Bebe Neuwirth, are available exclusively at and on the Amazon Instant Video app for Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Wii U, as well as hundreds of other connected devices. Viewer feedback will help determine which pilots Amazon Studios will produce into full series.
  • Amazon expanded the popular Kindle Fire feature “X-Ray for Movies” to TV shows, bringing the power of IMDb directly to the most popular TV shows on Kindle Fire. With a single tap viewers can discover the names of actors and what they've been in, without even leaving the TV show.
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library has grown to over 300,000 books available to borrow for free as frequently as a book a month, including many titles exclusive to Amazon.
  • Amazon announced the launch of the Amazon MP3 store optimized specifically for Safari browser. For the first time ever, iPhone and iPod touch users can discover and buy digital music from Amazon’s 22 million song catalog. Amazon also announced its Cloud Player app for iPad and iPad mini, enabling customers to play or download music stored in Cloud Player to their device, play music that is already stored on their device, and manage or create playlists.
  • Amazon announced it has extended its popular AutoRip services to vinyl records. AutoRip provides customers with free MP3 versions of CDs and vinyl records they purchase from Amazon. Additionally, customers who have purchased AutoRip CDs or vinyl records at any time since Amazon first opened its Music Store in 1998 will find MP3 versions of those albums in their Cloud Player libraries – also automatically for free.
  • Amazon announced the launch of Kindle Fire HD 8.9” — the large-screen version of its best-selling tablet —for the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. With the expansion of Kindle Fire HD 8.9” to Europe and Japan, Amazon also announced a lower price on Kindle Fire HD 8.9” in the U.S., with the Wi-Fi version starting at $269 and the 4G version starting at $399.
  • Amazon Publishing, the publishing arm of, announced that it will start paying authors their royalties monthly, 60 days in arrears — allowing authors to receive payment more frequently than the twice-a-year industry standard.
  • Amazon acquired Goodreads, a leading site for readers and book recommendations that helps people find and share books they love. Goodreads members can discover new books by seeing what their friends are reading or by using the Goodreads Book Recommendation Engine; share ratings and recommendations; track what they have read, and list what they want to read.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of Amazon Redshift, a fast and powerful, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud for a fraction of the cost of a traditional data warehouse.
  • AWS launched AWS OpsWorks, an application management solution for the complete lifecycle of complex applications, including resource provisioning, configuration management, deployment, monitoring, and access control.
  • AWS announced Amazon Elastic Transcoder, a highly scalable service for transcoding video files between different digital media formats. Amazon Elastic Transcoder manages all aspects of the transcoding process transparently and automatically, providing scalability and performance by leveraging AWS services.
  • AWS announced AWS CloudHSM, a new service enabling customers to increase data security and meet compliance requirements by using dedicated Hardware Security Module (HSM) appliances within the AWS Cloud. The CloudHSM service allows customers to securely generate, store and manage cryptographic keys used for data encryption in a way that keys are accessible only by the customer.
  • AWS has lowered prices 31 times since it launched in 2006, including 7 price reductions so far in 2013.
Tags:  Amazon, video, earnings