What was the last thing you heard about Amazon (AMZN)?
Let me guess. Its battle with Walmart WMT ? Or was it the FAAs approval of Amazons delivery drones? Most of this news about Amazons store is just noise that distracts investors from Amazons real force.
As Ill show, Amazon is running an operating system that powers some of todays most important technologies such as virtual reality, machine learning, and even quantum computing. Behind the scenes, it is utilized by over a million companiesincluding tech giants Apple AAPL , Netflix NFLX , and Facebook FB .
This is Amazons key and ever-growing moneymaker that has been driving Amazon stock to the moon. But before I pull the curtains, lets step back for a moment.
First, how Amazon makes moneyfor real
For all the online shopping fuss, Amazon doesn't earn much from its store. Yes, Amazon.com AMZN flips hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products every yearand its revenues are on a tear. But Amazon turns only a sliver of that into profits.
In the past year, Amazons store generated a record $282 billion in revenue from Amazon.com. That translated to just $5.6 billion in profitskeep in mind that was Amazon.coms most profitable year ever.
Meanwhile, most of Amazons profits came from the lesser-known side of its business called Amazon Web Services (AWS), as you can see below:
Amazon's profits from AWS vs Amazon.com
Its Amazons cloud arm that is serving over a million companies across the world. You may have heard that AWS has something to do with storing data in the cloud. But its much,muchmore than that.
AWS is the operating system of the internet
To get an idea of how AWS works, take your computer as an example.
Like every other computer, it runs on an operating system such as Windows or MacOS, which comes with a set of programs. This software puts your computer resources to use and helps you carry out daily taskssuch as sending emails or sorting out your files.
Now, think of AWS as an operating system thats running not one, but hundreds of thousands of big computers (in tech lingo: servers). It gives companies nearly unlimited computing power and storageas well as tools to build and run their software on the internet.
The difference is that these big computers sit in Amazons warehouses. And companies work on them remotelyor via the cloud. In other words, AWS is like the operating system of the internet.
Amazons operating system now powers AI, blockchain, and other next-gen technologies
In 2003, when Amazons AWS first started out, it offered only a couple of basic cloud services for storage and mail. Today, this system offers an unmatched set of 175+ tools that help companies build software harnesses todays top technologies.
The list includes blockchain, VR, machine learning (AI), quantum computing, augmented reality (AR), and other technologies that are the building blocks of todays internet.
For example, Netflix is using AWS for more than simply storing and streaming its shows on the internet. Its also employing AWS machine learning technology to recommend movies and shows to you.
Youve also probably heard of Slack (WORK), the most popular messaging app for business. Slack recently announced it will use Amazons media technology to introduce video and audio calls on its app.
And its not just tech companies that are utilizing Amazons AWS tools.
Take GE Power. The worlds energy leader is using AWS analytics technology to store and sift through avalanches of data from its plants. Or Fidelity. Americas mutual fund giant experiments with Amazons VR technology to build VR chat rooms for its clients.
In a picture, Amazons AWS works like this:
How Amazon's AWS powers the internet
Amazons AWS is earning more and more... and more
Amazon is not the only company running a cloud service. Google, Microsoft MSFT , Alibibaba, IBM IBM , and other tech giants are all duking it out for a slice of this lucrative business. But Amazon is the biggest and most feature-rich.
Today, Amazon controls 33% of the market, leaving its closest competitors Microsoft (2nd with 18%) and Google (3rd with 9%) far behind in the dust. That means nearly one third of the internet is running on Amazons AWS.
And it doesnt appear that Amazon will step down from its cloud throne anytime soon. Amazons sales from AWS soared 10X in the past six years. And last year, Amazon reported a bigger sales gain from AWS (dollar-wise) than any other cloud company.
Heres the main takeaway for investors
If you are looking into Amazon stock, dont get caught up in the online shopping fuss.
For years, AWS has been the linchpin of Amazons business. And this invisible side of Amazon is where Amazons largest gears turn.
Problem is, AWS is like a black box. Amazon reports very little on its operations. So if you want to dig deeper, youll have to do your own research.
Youll also have to weigh a couple of risks before putting your money into Amazon stock:
Other than that, Amazon is an outstanding stock, killing it in one of the most lucrative businesses on the planet. And its proven to be resilient to Covid, whose spread could hit the markers again.
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