Amazon.com has announced better-than-expected financial results for its first quarter, ended 31 March, thanks partly to particularly healthy sales of electronic products.
Revenues increased by 18 per cent to $4.89bn (£3.34bn) in the quarter, compared with $4.13bn (£2.83bn) for the same period last year. Profits increased 24 per cent to $177m (£121m) compared with $143m (£98m) over the same period.
During the quarter, Amazon announced an updated version of its popular Kindle e-book reader, and a version of the device that is designed to run on Apple's iPhone and iPods. The success of the Kindle was singled out by the firm's founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, when announcing the results.
"We’re grateful and excited that Kindle sales have exceeded our most optimistic expectations,” said Bezos.
The popularity of the Kindle reflects how customer demand has changed, Bezos said, pointing out that more traditional sellers such as books are becoming less and less significant to the firm.
"Higher priced items are still growing, though not as much as they were a couple of months ago. Given the selection that we have, you see a lot of variation per quarter. [I see] most opportunity in the categories we have been in for the shortest amount of time," he explained.
Bezos added that the firm was always looking to make its operation more efficient, to allow it to keep offering customers the best prices.
"Everywhere we look, we find that we still have a lot of progress to make. We make sure that we are frugal and efficient," he said.
Sales opportunities were increased with the launch of an Amazon application for the BlackBerry, a scaled-down version of the site designed to be used with the mobile email device's trackball. Amazon also increased the scope and scale of its cloud services, adding new pricing and usage options in its EC2 offering, and inking a deal with IBM to offer Big Blue's software on the platform.
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