Amazon Keeps Spending, Sales Growing But Not Income
I think Amazon is a great company and Jeff Bezos is a great leader. I sold the stock I had in Amazon hoping that prices would fall and I could buy it back (I sold a small portion held in my 12 stock for 10 year portfolio). So far that hasn’t worked. The latest earnings from Amazon were more of the same. Very good revenue growth (up 38% to $9.86 billion). Very large increases in spending. And bad earnings news (net income down 33% year over year). I think this is due to smart choices by Amazon (I would be a bit more focused on current earnings but I understand the vision of Bezos and it is very wise and support it).
Normally the stock market punishes this type of pattern. Even Google, that has a similar pattern (but with much better earnings growth), has a stock price that has been held back much more. This quarter investors again punished Google for good earning growth but also high expense growth. Amazon avoided that response, even with shrinking earnings and guidance of lower earnings. Jeff Bezos wrote about these decisions to invest in increasing expenses in Amazon’s shareholder letter
The advances in data management developed by Amazon engineers have been the starting point for the architectures underneath the cloud storage and data management services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). For example, our Simple Storage Service, Elastic Block Store, and SimpleDB all derive their basic architecture from unique Amazon technologies.
All the effort we put into technology might not matter that much if we kept technology off to the side in some sort of R&D department, but we don’t take that approach. Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision-making, and our approach to innovation in each of our businesses. It is deeply integrated into everything we do.
And we like it that way. Invention is in our DNA and technology is the fundamental tool we wield to evolve and improve every aspect of the experience we provide our customers. We still have a lot to learn, and I expect and hope we’ll continue to have so much fun learning it. I take great pride in being part of this team.
Operating cash flow increased 9% to $3.03 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.78billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2010. Free cash flow decreased 18% to $1.90 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.32 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2010.
Operating income was $322 million in the first quarter, compared with $394 million in first quarter 2010. Net income decreased 33% to $201 million in the first quarter, or $0.44 per diluted share, compared with net income of $299 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, in first quarter 2010.
I continue to think Amazon is being a bad corporate citizen by fighting efforts to have Amazon play its proper role in the collection of sales tax. Ethics mean doing the right thing even if it costs you something personally. Amazon continues to act as an organization that fights what is right for society for their own greedy reasons. This is the worst behavior Bezos continues to push and does indicated a refusal to accept the responsibilities of participation in a society. Overall I believe Bezos does many great things but this disrespect for our society is a serious ethical problem.
Related: Amazon Soars on Good Earnings and Projected Sales (Oct 2009) – 12 Stocks for 10 Years: Feb 2011 Update – Another Great Quarter for Amazon (July 2007) – Amazon’s Bezos on Lean Thinking