Amazon sales surge as company trains focus on artificial intelligence

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Amazon.com reported record first-quarter sales as the AI boom powered growth in its cloud-computing unit, helping the company continue to shake off last year’s post-pandemic slump.

Revenue rose 13% to reach $143.3 billion, an all-time high in the January-to-March period, and profit surged to $10.4 billion. Both figures exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has significantly reoriented the company to focus on AI innovations since falling behind Microsoft, Google and other peers in the space. Earlier this month, in his annual letter to shareholders, he laid out his vision for how generative AI could be a critical building block in establishing Amazon’s next pillar of growth following its online retail Marketplace, Amazon Prime and its cloud-computing unit, Amazon Web Services.

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Sales in the Amazon Web Services cloud-computing arm, a critically important profit center for the company, increased more than 17% in the first quarter to about $25 billion. The division’s operating profit rose nearly 84%.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy

Jassy said AWS’s AI capabilities are reaccelerating that business’s growth rate, and that it’s now at $100 billion in annual revenue.

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Amazon’s stock rose 2% after hours. Through Tuesday’s close, the stock has risen about 15% so far this year.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AMZN AMAZON.COM INC. 175.00 -5.96 -3.29%

Amazon said advertising revenue grew 24% to $11.82 billion. The growth comes after the company in January began showing ads on its Prime Video platform unless customers pay more.

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