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Reuters/Brendan McDermid
It happens!
CASHING IN

Amazon can make loads of money when it actually feels like it

By Alison Griswold

Amazon isn’t exactly known for putting up big profits—but if it wants to, it can.

That’s what happened in the latest quarter, for which Amazon reported a record-setting $2.5 billion in profit. That was an astonishing 1,200% more than the $197 million in profit Amazon posted in the same quarter a year earlier, as well as 37% better than the fourth quarter of 2017, which had previously been Amazon’s most profitable quarter.

Amazon’s results were, per usual, buoyed by a strong performance from its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services. AWS generated $6.1 billion in revenue in the second quarter, up 49% from the same quarter a year earlier. Subscription services, which includes Amazon’s signature member program Amazon Prime as well as other streaming music and video subscriptions, brought in another $3.4 billion in revenue.

“What I attribute it to is continued strength in some of most profitable areas,” Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said on the company’s earnings call, pointing to AWS and Amazon’s advertising business. “We saw probably better-than-expected efficiencies in operations, infrastructure costs and generally all of our fixed costs,” he added.

Amazon’s stock rose 3% in after-hours trading on July 26, erasing its losses from regular trading that day.