Amazon's next billion-dollar business eyed

Amazon's next billion-dollar business eyed

Source: Reuters Inc's cloud computing unit may be its next billion-dollar business and analysts will be watching for clues on how fast this secretive unit is growing when the Internet retailer reports results next week.

Amazon Web Services started small in 2006 by selling computing power and data storage to emerging technology companies, blogs and websites. Now the unit, known as AWS, counts NASA, the U.S. Department of State, Siemens, Pfizer and Nasdaq as customers.

"AWS has the potential to be very large," RJ Hottovy, an equity analyst at Morningstar told Reuters on Thursday. "Any indication that growth rates are progressing will be well received by the market."

Amazon doesn't disclose AWS results. However, a spokeswoman said the business has hundreds of thousands of customers in more than 190 countries.

Analysts and investors get a sense of how fast AWS is growing by looking at how many pieces of data, or objects, are stored by the unit's S3 service, which sells storage on off-site servers, which is known as the cloud....

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