Amazon Web Services is now a nearly $9 billion-a-year cloud-computing machine

Look at it go.
Look at it go.
Image: AP Photo/Reed Saxon
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Amazon’s cloud-computing division generated $2.57 billion in revenue in the first quarter, the company reported today (April 28). Over the past four quarters, Amazon Web Services has reaped $8.88 billion in sales.

Revenue from AWS grew 64% year-over-year, compared to 49% a year ago. The division is, however, showing signs of deceleration compared to the previous three quarters, when growth varied between 69% and 82%. Operating income for AWS totaled $604 million in the first quarter and $2.2 billion over the past four quarters. AWS accounted for 36% of Amazon’s consolidated-segment operating income in the first quarter, despite generating about 9% of the company’s sales.

The cloud has proven to be a bright spot for AWS’s rivals as well. Even as Microsoft reported falling revenue from PCs and Windows, its “intelligent cloud” segment buoyed its first-quarter earnings, growing 3% to $5.1 billion in sales. Google—whose cloud division recently won over a number of high-profile clients, including Apple, Spotify, and Autodesk—is also banking heavily in its cloud infrastructure, in particular machine learning and artificial intelligence. Analysts believe these investments will start to meaningfully contribute to its financials in 2017. To compete with these players, Amazon, considered the market leader with an estimated 42% share according to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, slashed prices for its cloud services in early 2014.