With an expanding core retail business, Amazon's firing on all cylinders. But lot depends on the continuing growth of AWS. Can Amazon keep it up?
Here's a question: When will Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stop getting richer?
Shares of the e-commerce and technology company are up almost 116 percent over the past year, making Bezos one of the world's five richest people, according to Bloomberg. And that's despite an unconventional management strategy.
The company posted the second straight quarterly profit in October, reporting third-quarter earnings of 17 cents per share on $25.36 billion in revenue. It was a unique occurrence — a departure from Bezos' long-standing habit of running the company at a loss, said Richard Brandt, author of "One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com."
"He made it very clear that what he was going to do was not focus on quarterly profits, the way almost all corporations do when they're public," Brandt said Wednesday, on CNBC's " Closing Bell. " "He was going to be in this for the long term, which meant he was going to reinvest his profits, he was going to grow the company, he was going to have low prices to gain consumers. All of this has worked."
In addition to funding Bezo's penchant for building rocket ships, Amazon's plowback strategy has led to the dominance of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which accounts for around half of all cloud computing platform sales across the industry, according to RBC Capital Markets analysts Mark Mahaney.
The question is, can Amazon keep it up?
With an expanding core retail business, Amazon's firing on all cylinders. But a lot depends on the continuing growth of AWS, an analyst told CNBC Wednesday.
"In terms of profitability, I think we could see profits on AWS equal the core business over the next few years," said Aaron Kessler, Raymond James senior Internet analyst, on CNBC's " Power Lunch ." "That said ... we think long-term margins for the core retail business could roughly double as well."
Disclosure: Raymond James makes a market in shares of Amazon.com. CNBC's Harriet Taylor and Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.