Amazon Tracker: Chime In

Amazon stock (AMZN) spent the past two weeks recovering from an over $30 slip in value following the retail giant’s Q4 earnings announcement on Feb. 2.

While Amazon’s EPS in Q4 outpaced analysts’ projections, coming in at $1.54 a share, over the expected $1.35, the company reported revenue of $43.7 billion, falling below The Street at $44.7 billion.

In that, Amazon Web Services (AWS) saw $3.5 billion in revenue, below analysts’ expectations of $3.6 billion. Looking forward, the firm projects the current quarter’s revenue to hit between $33.3 billion and $35.8 billion, below analysts’ models.

Day-of prices fell from $839.95 down to open at $807.64 on Monday (Feb. 6) following the mark-missing earnings report. Since then, Amazon shares have been steadily climbing back up, hitting values around the $840 mark during Wednesday morning (Feb. 15) trading.

At the time of writing, Amazon stock was valued at $840.37, up 0.48 percent from Tuesday’s close. Amazon’s market cap estimate sat at well over $400 billion.

Amazon hasn’t slowed down at all after marginally missing the mark in Q4. The past few weeks have seen a new enterprise addition to AWS, the announcement of a new communications feature and some telling stats on the growth of the retail giant’s payments endeavor.

In services news, Amazon Web Services announced last week a new enterprise client.

Entertainment and ticketing company Live Nation selected AWS as its public cloud infrastructure provider. Live Nation will move its global IT infrastructure to the AWS Cloud, which will aid the entertainment company in scaling for future growth across Ticketmaster, corporate IT and parts of its Festival business.

“We have been working closely with the AWS team, and we are impressed with the superior security, performance and reliability of their products,” said David Huckabay, CIO of Live Nation. “We look forward to the positive impact that going all in on the AWS Cloud will have on our IT infrastructure across our key business divisions.”

Live Nation reportedly produces over 26,000 live events worldwide each year, including more than 80 festivals. The company currently operates more than 150 venues.

On the retail giant’s payments end, Amazon recently shared with PYMNTS that some 33 million consumers from 170 countries — half of whom are Prime members — have used Amazon Payments to make a purchase.

In 2016, payment volume nearly doubled as the service expanded into France, Italy and Spain. Expansion into verticals like government payments, travel, digital goods, insurance, entertainment, nonprofits and charities also facilitated the growth in payment volume. Amazon reported that the average transaction size on Amazon Payments was $80, and nearly a third of customer transactions made by those customers were done via a mobile device.

Pay with Amazon saw its active merchant base grow more than 120 percent in 2016. Merchants who have added Amazon’s payment solution to their sites have seen sales lift as a result. Basket sizes of Pay with Amazon customers ranged from 10 percent higher to as much as 33 percent higher than non-Pay with Amazon customers.

The latest web service of AWS creation was announced just this week, when the company debuted a new conferencing service through AWS called Chime — a calling and video messaging software available as a web application on MacOS and Windows, as well as a mobile application on iOS and Android.

“It’s pretty hard to find people who actually like the technology they use for meetings today,” said Gene Farrell, vice president of enterprise applications at AWS. “Most meeting applications or services are hard to use, deliver bad audio and video, require constant switching between multiple tools to do everything they want and are way too expensive.”

Chime starts high-quality video and audio meetings with one click. Users can reportedly host or join a meeting, chat and share content and screens across multiple devices. Customers will have three price tiers to choose from. Chime offers a free version for up to two people. Capabilities for a larger meeting with screen sharing costs $2.50 per user per month, and meetings of up to 100 participants will cost companies $15 per user per month.

The new service now puts Amazon in direct competition with other major conferencing software, such as Microsoft’s Skype for Business and Cisco’s WebEx, along with a number of free conferencing services.

One wonders what else Amazon has up its sleeve armed with voice-call and video capabilities. Could the capabilities Amazon developed for Chime be put to use elsewhere? Outside of business conferencing, there’s another potential area of application: facilitating device-to-device communication for Amazon’s line of smart speakers.

VoiceLabs, for one, predicts at least one or more of the voice-enabled device platforms will enable direct communication in 2017. Whether, in Amazon’s case, the communications capabilities in Chime can be leveraged in Echos is yet to be seen — though it does seem like a natural extension of some of the technologies at play.



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