Why Amazon’s Accountants Keep Quiet About Cloud Business

Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm conference last week, Amazon.com executive Andy Jassy described Amazon Web Services, the company’s fast-growing cloud-services business, as “completely separable—and organized and managed that way—from the rest of Amazon.”

But Amazon's public filings don’t list any revenue data for AWS. Instead Amazon, which reports second quarter results this week, lumps its numbers into the “other” category on its financial statement and aggregates its profit or loss with Amazon’s retail business.

Some large Amazon shareholders say privately that they believe the unit has become big enough that Amazon should be required to break out its numbers, though accounting rules might give the company wiggle room.

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That being said, Amazon’s rivals in the cloud-services market, including Microsoft and Google, are unlikely to underestimate Amazon as much as traditional retailers did in e-commerce.


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Opacity is vintage Amazon. CEO Jeff Bezos has long obscured the phenomenal growth of his company’s core e-commerce business to distract competitors.