In his company's first quarter earnings report, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has announced that "Amazon Web Services is a $5 billion business and still growing fast — in fact it’s accelerating."
Amazon Web Services supplies cloud computing technology to other companies. This initially seemed like a natural and handy side-business given that Amazon needed to invest in such technology to run its core retail business, but it's turned into much more than that.
For the first time ever, Amazon has shared financial details relating to its web services business - and the news is extremely positive.
During the first quarter, Amazon Web Services brought in $1.57 billion in revenue, which represents growth from $1.1 billion during the same period last year. The division also made $265 million in profit for the quarter.
Prior to this, Amazon always filed the performance of its web services division under the miscellaneous "other" column, so no one was ever quite sure precisely what it brought to the company as a whole.
Now it's emerged as a rare profit-making division within the online retail giant. Indeed, the company as a whole reported a net loss of $57 million.
As such, the news that Amazon is probably now the world's largest cloud service provider, ahead of the likes of Microsoft, Google, and IBM, will come as good news to Amazon's patient investors.