Amazon's cloud is now a profitable $7 billion+ business

Amazon’s cloud business continues to shine.

Sales have grown 81% this quarter compared to the same quarter last year, Amazon just reported in its second quarter results.

Specifically, Amazon Web Services had $US1.82 billion in revenue, up from $US1.57 billion last quarter, and up from about $US1 billion in the year-ago quarter.

AWS dropped $US391 million of profit to the bottom line, up from $US265 million last quarter, and up from $US77 million in the year-ago quarter.

At this rate, that’s a $US7.2 billion annual business. But the way the cloud computing industry is booming, with Amazon considered its leader, that number will probably grow by next quarter too.

Last quarter, Amazon finally broke its silence and revealed it had a profitable cloud business that was, at that time, on track to do $US6 billion in annual revenue.

It’s hard to say who the biggest cloud provider of them all is. All of the players, Microsoft, IBM, others, are throwing lots of different metrics in the pot to indicate that they have got game in cloud. All of them say that their cloud businesses are huge, multi-billion beasts.

For instance, earliest this week, Microsoft said that its commercial cloud revenue was on track to be an $US8 billion annual business. (Its “run-rate.”) But much of that revenue comes from Office 365, its online version of Microsoft office. The Microsoft cloud that competes head-on with Amazon is called Azure, and sources tell us that revenue for that unit, while growing, is much smaller.

But there’s no question that Amazon is the one they are all chasing. And it’s doing its best to stay in front.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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