Other highlights from the press release included the following:
- The Company introduced Amazon Kindle, a revolutionary wireless portable reader that provides instant wireless downloads of more than 90,000 books, blogs, magazines and newspapers to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display. The Amazon Kindle team is scrambling to increase manufacturing, as demand remains higher than supply. Kindles are being delivered to customers on a first come, first served basis.
- Amazon MP3 added DRM-free music downloads from Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, making it the only retailer to offer DRM-free MP3 music downloads from all four major music labels as well as over 50,000 independent labels. The MP3 store now includes over 3.4 million songs from more than 270,000 artists. Pepsi will debut the Pepsi Stuff Amazon MP3 promotion, a massive collect-and-get program, during the upcoming Super Bowl.
- Over 330,000 developers have registered to use Amazon Web Services (AWS), up more than 30,000 from last quarter.
- Adoption of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) continues to grow. As an indicator of adoption, bandwidth utilized by these services in fourth quarter 2007 was even greater than bandwidth utilized in the same period by all of Amazon.com's global websites combined.
- AWS launched a limited beta of its SimpleDB Service, which allows queries to run on structured data in real time. This service works in conjunction with Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3, collectively providing the ability to store, process and query data sets in the cloud.
- AWS launched European storage for Amazon S3, allowing software developers and businesses to store their data physically in Europe. Amazon S3 is a storage service in the cloud offering software developers and businesses low-cost access to the same scalable and reliable storage infrastructure Amazon uses to run its own global network of websites.
- North America segment sales, representing the Company's U.S. and Canadian sites, were $3.08 billion, up 40% from fourth quarter 2006.
- International segment sales, representing the Company's U.K., German, Japanese, French and Chinese sites, were $2.59 billion, up 46% from fourth quarter 2006. Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, International sales grew 35%.
- Worldwide Media sales grew 33% to $3.33 billion in fourth quarter 2007, compared with $2.50 billion in fourth quarter 2006.
- Worldwide Electronics & Other General Merchandise sales grew 58% to $2.21 billion in fourth quarter 2007, compared with $1.40 billion in fourth quarter 2006, and increased to 39% of worldwide net sales compared with 35%.
- A record number of customers took advantage of Amazon Prime, the Company's unlimited free-shipping program. Amazon Prime is now available in the U.K., Germany, Japan and the U.S.
- Amazon.com shipped over half-a-million units in fourth quarter 2007 on behalf of sellers who utilized the Fulfillment by Amazon service.
On their outlook:
For calendar 2008, we expect net sales of between $18.75 bllion and $19.75 billion, a growth of between 26% and 33%. This guidance anticipates greater than 200 basis points of positive impact from foreign exchange. GAAP operating income to be between $785 million and $985 million, or between 20% growth and 50% growth. This includes approximately $240 million for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets. We anticipate 2008 consolidated segment operating income, which excludes stock-based compensation and other operating expense to be between $1.025 billion and $1.225 billion, or between 21% growth and 44% growth.Some interesting comments on the Kindle from Bezos:
And answering a question on Kindle demand:
Well, the Kindle has a few experimental features that are -- some of which are visible on the Kindle. It has something call a Now-Now, where you can type in any question and using the Mechanical Turk in the background, which is one of our web services, that question gets answered and the answer to the question gets displayed on the Kindle. There is an experimental web browser on the Kindle, which is actually, for a mobile device, a pretty good web browser, and of course is has the Whisper Net EVDO connectivity, which gives you broadband wireless access to that web browser.
So there are a number of experimental features and we’ve put those on there and made them accessible to customers so that these early Kindle users can tell us what they think of those features, whether we should continue to invest in them, continue to work on them and make them part of the product.
Yeah, Kindle is, in terms of demand, is outpacing our expectations, which is certainly something that we are very grateful for. It’s also on the manufacturing side causing us to scramble. We’re working very hard to increase the number of units that we can build and supply per week, so that we can get back -- our goal is to get into a situation as quickly as we can where when you order a Kindle, we ship it immediately. That’s the standard we want to hold ourselves to and we are working very hard to get there. We are super-excited by the very strong demand.