Amazon amazes as Alexa, ads and cloud businesses deliver a $2.5bn profit

27 Jul 2018

Amazon Echo dot. Image: Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock

As AWS accelerates, Amazon is creating a vast tapestry of use cases for its Alexa voice AI platform.

After a desperate day for tech that saw Facebook’s market value plunge $120bn – recorded as the single greatest one-day loss in US stock market history – the markets appeared to rally behind Amazon.

The e-commerce giant posted a record profit of $2.5bn on second-quarter revenues of $52.8bn. That profit represents a 1,286pc increase from the second quarter of 2017.

‘There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa voice service’

Key reasons for this strong performance lie in Amazon’s non-retail divisions, which include advertising and cloud computing.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced several new enterprise customers during the quarter, including Ryanair and Epic Games, which are moving their infrastructure on to the AWS cloud platform.

The company was also buoyed by strong renewals of its Prime membership, despite a price hike in April.

Alexa finds her voice

Another strong reason for Amazon’s performance is the growth of its Alexa audio AI platform that features on its Echo smart speaker system.

The Alexa Skills store now offers more than 45,000 skills created by third-party developers, including entertainment and gaming skills such as Jurassic World Revealed, Westworld: The Maze, Skyrim: Very Special Edition, When in Rome and Hotel Transylvania Stories.

Users can now use Alexa to control more than 13,000 smart home devices from more than 2,500 unique brands.

In recent months, Amazon launched Echo and Alexa in France and Ireland, and recently revealed Alexa for Hospitality, which lets hoteliers create new voice-first experiences.

This is really just the beginning for Alexa, said CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.

“We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are,” Bezos said.

“There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa voice service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year.

“Our partners are creating a wide variety of new Alexa-enabled devices and experiences, including soundbars from Polk and Sonos; headphones from Jabra; smart home devices from Ecobee and First Alert; Windows 10 PCs from Acer, HP and Lenovo; and cars from automakers including BMW, Ford and Toyota.”

Amazon Echo dot. Image: Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years