AWS posts $11.6 billion revenues in record-breaking quarter, up 29% year on year

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) secured revenues of $11.6 billion (£8.94bn) for its most recent quarter comprising 12% of Amazon’s overall revenue and the largest in absolute figures ever posted.

AWS revenue for the third quarter was up 29% compared to the previous year, and up from $10.8bn for the previous quarter. For nine months’ revenue, up to $32.6bn from $25.1bn, this represented a 30% uptick. Total Amazon revenues were at $96.1bn.

In terms of wider revenues, Amazon achieved them amid the postponement of Prime Day, which normally takes place in August but was moved to October this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Brian Olsavsky, Amazon chief financial officer, noted that with regard to guidance there was ‘a lot of uncertainty’ around Q4 for the wider business – noting not only the upcoming US election but the usual holiday season as key factors.

Speaking on an earnings call, Olsavsky said AWS customer usage ‘remained strong’, with companies ‘meaningfully growing their plans to move to AWS.’ Yet he added, in response to an analyst question, that cloud ‘was a mixed bag’, noting – as with many providers – the pandemic had seen an acceleration in organisations’ cloud initiatives, with understandable anomalies in areas such as travel and hospitality.

“[The] majority of companies are looking for ways to cut down on expenses,” said Olsavsky. “Going to cloud is a good way to cut down on expenses long-term. Trying to cut down on their short-term costs in the cloud, by tuning their workloads… we’re helping them do that and doing the best we can to help them save short-term dollars.

“But even and despite those actions with strong growth – the year-over-year growth in absolute dollars this quarter was the largest we’ve ever seen – we feel good about the state of the business and the state of our sales force and their ability to drive value during this period,” he added.

Highlights for AWS in the most recent quarter included telecoms initiatives, partnering with Verizon and Bharti Airtel, while customer successes included the National Football League (NFL). AWS also announced the general availability of Amazon Braket, a fully managed service which provides a development environment for exploring quantum computing algorithms.

Going forward, all eyes will be on re:Invent, which has been pegged this year as a three-week virtual conference beginning November 30.

You can read the full earnings release here.

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