SAN FRANCISCO: Amazon reported its profit in the past quarter surged on strong holiday retail sales and its soaring cloud computing business.
The US tech giant said profit jumped 63 percent from a year ago to $3.0 billion in the fourth quarter as revenues increased 20 percent to $72.4 billion.
The results reflected growth in Amazon´s ever-expanding online retail operations as well as its large cloud computing division known as Amazon Web Services.
Chief executive Jeff Bezos highlighted the role of Amazon´s digital assistant Alexa as the company moves into infusing artificial intelligence into its smart speakers and other devices in a race for dominance in the “internet of things” market.
“Alexa was very busy during her holiday season,” Bezos said in the earnings release to the stock market.
Bezos pointed to the Amazon-branded Echo speakers that are at the heart of the new strategy.
“Echo Dot was the best-selling item across all products on Amazon globally, and customers purchased millions more devices from the Echo family compared to last year,” he said.
Alexa virtual assistant smarts built into Amazon Echo products spread to scores more products made by partners.
Amazon has been in a battle with Google to have the dominant artificial intelligence aide ready to take spoken commands nearly anywhere.