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10-K
AMAZON COM INC filed this Form 10-K on 01/29/2016
Entire Document
 
10-K

 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 ____________________________________
FORM 10-K
____________________________________ 
(Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015
or
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from            to             .
Commission File No. 000-22513
____________________________________
AMAZON.COM, INC.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
Delaware
 
91-1646860
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
410 Terry Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109-5210
(206) 266-1000
(Address and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
 
NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
 ____________________________________
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  x    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
 
x
Accelerated filer
 
¨
Non-accelerated filer
 
¨  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Smaller reporting company
 
¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x
Aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2015
$
166,381,236,673

Number of shares of common stock outstanding as of January 20, 2016
470,842,035

____________________________________ 
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
The information required by Part III of this Report, to the extent not set forth herein, is incorporated herein by reference from the registrant’s definitive proxy statement relating to the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held in 2016, which definitive proxy statement shall be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this Report relates.
 



AMAZON.COM, INC.
FORM 10-K
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2015
INDEX
 
 
 
Page
PART I
 
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
PART II
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
PART III
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
PART IV
 
Item 15.


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AMAZON.COM, INC.

PART I

Item 1.
Business
This Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents incorporated herein by reference contain forward-looking statements based on expectations, estimates, and projections as of the date of this filing. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. See Item 1A of Part I—“Risk Factors.”
Amazon.com, Inc. was incorporated in 1994 in the state of Washington and reincorporated in 1996 in the state of Delaware. Our principal corporate offices are located in Seattle, Washington. We completed our initial public offering in May 1997 and our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “AMZN.”
As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our,” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc. and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.
General
Amazon.com opened its virtual doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995. We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. We are guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. In each of our segments, we serve our primary customer sets, consisting of consumers, sellers, developers, enterprises, and content creators. In addition, we provide services, such as advertising services and co-branded credit card agreements.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2015, we changed our reportable segments to North America, International, and Amazon Web Services (“AWS”). These segments reflect the way the Company evaluates its business performance and manages its operations. Additional information on our operating segments and product information is contained in Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 11—Segment Information.” See Item 7 of Part II, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations—Supplemental Information” for supplemental information about our net sales. Our company-sponsored research and development expense is set forth within “Technology and content” in Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Consolidated Statements of Operations.”
Consumers
We serve consumers through our retail websites and focus on selection, price, and convenience. We design our websites to enable millions of unique products to be sold by us and by third parties across dozens of product categories. Customers access our websites directly and through our mobile websites and apps. We also manufacture and sell electronic devices, including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TVs, and Echo. We strive to offer our customers the lowest prices possible through low everyday product pricing and shipping offers, and to improve our operating efficiencies so that we can continue to lower prices for our customers. We also provide easy-to-use functionality, fast and reliable fulfillment, and timely customer service. In addition, we offer Amazon Prime, an annual membership program that includes unlimited free shipping on millions of items, access to unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV episodes, and other benefits.
We fulfill customer orders in a number of ways, including through: North America and International fulfillment and delivery networks that we operate; co-sourced and outsourced arrangements in certain countries; and digital delivery. We operate customer service centers globally, which are supplemented by co-sourced arrangements. See Item 2 of Part I, “Properties.”
Sellers
We offer programs that enable sellers to sell their products on our websites and their own branded websites and to fulfill orders through us. We are not the seller of record in these transactions, but instead earn fixed fees, a percentage of sales, per-unit activity fees, or some combination thereof.
Developers and Enterprises
We serve developers and enterprises of all sizes, including start-ups, government agencies, and academic institutions, through our AWS segment, which offers a broad set of global compute, storage, database, and other service offerings.

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Content Creators
We serve authors and independent publishers with Kindle Direct Publishing, an online platform that lets independent authors and publishers choose a 70% royalty option and make their books available in the Kindle Store, along with Amazon’s own publishing arm, Amazon Publishing. We also offer programs that allow authors, musicians, filmmakers, app developers, and others to publish and sell content.
Competition
Our businesses encompass a large variety of product types, service offerings, and delivery channels. The international marketplace in which we compete is evolving rapidly and intensely competitive, and we face a broad array of competitors from many different industry sectors around the world. Our current and potential competitors include: (1) online, offline, and multichannel retailers, publishers, vendors, distributors, manufacturers, and producers of the products we offer and sell to consumers and businesses; (2) publishers, producers, and distributors of physical, digital, and interactive media of all types and all distribution channels; (3) web search engines, comparison shopping websites, social networks, web portals, and other online and app-based means of discovering, using, or acquiring goods and services, either directly or in collaboration with other retailers; (4) companies that provide e-commerce services, including website development, advertising, fulfillment, customer service, and payment processing; (5) companies that provide fulfillment and logistics services for themselves or for third parties, whether online or offline; (6) companies that provide information technology services or products, including on-premises or cloud-based infrastructure and other services; and (7) companies that design, manufacture, market, or sell consumer electronics, telecommunication, and electronic devices. We believe that the principal competitive factors in our retail businesses include selection, price, and convenience, including fast and reliable fulfillment. Additional competitive factors for our seller and enterprise services include the quality, speed, and reliability of our services and tools, as well as customers’ ability and willingness to change business practices. Some of our current and potential competitors have greater resources, longer histories, more customers, greater brand recognition, and greater control over inputs critical to our various businesses. They may secure better terms from suppliers, adopt more aggressive pricing, pursue restrictive distribution agreements that restrict our access to supply, direct consumers to their own offerings instead of ours, lock-in potential customers with restrictive terms, and devote more resources to technology, infrastructure, fulfillment, and marketing. Each of our businesses is also subject to rapid change and the development of new business models and the entry of new and well-funded competitors. Other companies also may enter into business combinations or alliances that strengthen their competitive positions.
Intellectual Property
We regard our trademarks, service marks, copyrights, patents, domain names, trade dress, trade secrets, proprietary technologies, and similar intellectual property as critical to our success, and we rely on trademark, copyright, and patent law, trade-secret protection, and confidentiality and/or license agreements with our employees, customers, partners, and others to protect our proprietary rights. We have registered, or applied for the registration of, a number of U.S. and international domain names, trademarks, service marks, and copyrights. Additionally, we have filed U.S. and international patent applications covering certain of our proprietary technology. We have licensed in the past, and expect that we may license in the future, certain of our proprietary rights to third parties.
Seasonality
Our business is affected by seasonality, which historically has resulted in higher sales volume during our fourth quarter, which ends December 31. We recognized 33%, 33%, and 34% of our annual revenue during the fourth quarter of 2015, 2014, and 2013.
Employees
We employed approximately 230,800 full-time and part-time employees as of December 31, 2015. However, employment levels fluctuate due to seasonal factors affecting our business. Additionally, we utilize independent contractors and temporary personnel to supplement our workforce. We have works councils, statutory employee representation obligations, and union agreements in certain countries outside the United States. We consider our employee relations to be good. Competition for qualified personnel in our industry has historically been intense, particularly for software engineers, computer scientists, and other technical staff.
Available Information
Our investor relations website is www.amazon.com/ir and we encourage investors to use it as a way of easily finding information about us. We promptly make available on this website, free of charge, the reports that we file or furnish with the

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Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), corporate governance information (including our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics), and select press releases and social media postings.
Executive Officers and Directors
The following tables set forth certain information regarding our Executive Officers and Directors as of January 20, 2016:
Executive Officers of the Registrant
 
Name
 
Age
 
Position
Jeffrey P. Bezos
 
52
 
President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board
Jeffrey M. Blackburn
 
46
 
Senior Vice President, Business Development
Andrew R. Jassy
 
48
 
Senior Vice President, Amazon Web Services
Brian T. Olsavsky
 
52
 
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Diego Piacentini
 
55
 
Senior Vice President, International Consumer Business
Shelley L. Reynolds
 
51
 
Vice President, Worldwide Controller, and Principal Accounting Officer
Jeffrey A. Wilke
 
49
 
Senior Vice President, Consumer Business
David A. Zapolsky
 
52
 
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary
Jeffrey P. Bezos. Mr. Bezos has been Chairman of the Board of Amazon.com since founding it in 1994 and Chief Executive Officer since May 1996. Mr. Bezos served as President of the Company from founding until June 1999 and again from October 2000 to the present.
Jeffrey M. Blackburn. Mr. Blackburn has served as Senior Vice President, Business Development, since April 2006.
Andrew R. Jassy. Mr. Jassy has served as Senior Vice President, Amazon Web Services, since April 2006.
Brian T. Olsavsky. Mr. Olsavsky has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since June 2015, Vice President, Finance for the Global Consumer Business from December 2011 to June 2015, and numerous financial leadership roles across Amazon with global responsibility since April 2002.
Diego Piacentini. Mr. Piacentini has served as Senior Vice President, International Consumer Business, since February 2012, and as Senior Vice President, International Retail, from January 2007 until February 2012.
Shelley L. Reynolds. Ms. Reynolds has served as Vice President, Worldwide Controller, and Principal Accounting Officer since April 2007.
Jeffrey A. Wilke. Mr. Wilke has served as Senior Vice President, Consumer Business, since February 2012, and as Senior Vice President, North America Retail, from January 2007 until February 2012.
David A. Zapolsky. Mr. Zapolsky has served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary since May 2014, Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary from September 2012 to May 2014, and as Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Litigation and Regulatory matters from April 2002 until September 2012.
Board of Directors
 
Name
 
Age
 
Position
Jeffrey P. Bezos
 
52
 
President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board
Tom A. Alberg
 
75
 
Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group
John Seely Brown
 
75
 
Visiting Scholar and Advisor to the Provost, University of Southern California
William B. Gordon
 
65
 
Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Jamie S. Gorelick
 
65
 
Partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Judith A. McGrath
 
63
 
President, Astronauts Wanted * No experience necessary
Alain Monié
 
65
 
Chief Executive Officer, Ingram Micro Inc.
Jonathan J. Rubinstein
 
59
 
Former Chairman and CEO, Palm, Inc.
Thomas O. Ryder
 
71
 
Retired, Former Chairman, Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
Patricia Q. Stonesifer
 
59
 
President and Chief Executive Officer, Martha’s Table


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Item 1A.
Risk Factors
Please carefully consider the following risk factors. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition, operating results, and cash flows could be materially adversely affected. In addition, the current global economic climate amplifies many of these risks.
We Face Intense Competition
Our businesses are rapidly evolving and intensely competitive, and we have many competitors in different industries, including retail, e-commerce services, digital content and electronic devices, and web and infrastructure computing services. Some of our current and potential competitors have greater resources, longer histories, more customers, and/or greater brand recognition. They may secure better terms from vendors, adopt more aggressive pricing, and devote more resources to technology, infrastructure, fulfillment, and marketing.
Competition may intensify as our competitors enter into business combinations or alliances and established companies in other market segments expand to become competitive with our business. In addition, new and enhanced technologies, including search, web and infrastructure computing services, digital content, and electronic devices, may increase our competition. The Internet facilitates competitive entry and comparison shopping, and increased competition may reduce our sales and profits.
Our Expansion Places a Significant Strain on our Management, Operational, Financial, and Other Resources
We are rapidly and significantly expanding our global operations, including increasing our product and service offerings and scaling our infrastructure to support our retail and services businesses. This expansion increases the complexity of our business and places significant strain on our management, personnel, operations, systems, technical performance, financial resources, and internal financial control and reporting functions. We may not be able to manage growth effectively, which could damage our reputation, limit our growth, and negatively affect our operating results.
Our Expansion into New Products, Services, Technologies, and Geographic Regions Subjects Us to Additional Business, Legal, Financial, and Competitive Risks
We may have limited or no experience in our newer market segments, and our customers may not adopt our new offerings. These offerings may present new and difficult technology challenges, and we may be subject to claims if customers of these offerings experience service disruptions or failures or other quality issues. In addition, profitability, if any, in our newer activities may be lower than in our older activities, and we may not be successful enough in these newer activities to recoup our investments in them. If any of this were to occur, it could damage our reputation, limit our growth, and negatively affect our operating results.
We May Experience Significant Fluctuations in Our Operating Results and Growth Rate
We may not be able to accurately forecast our growth rate. We base our expense levels and investment plans on sales estimates. A significant portion of our expenses and investments is fixed, and we may not be able to adjust our spending quickly enough if our sales are less than expected.
Our revenue growth may not be sustainable, and our percentage growth rates may decrease. Our revenue and operating profit growth depends on the continued growth of demand for the products and services offered by us or our sellers, and our business is affected by general economic and business conditions worldwide. A softening of demand, whether caused by changes in customer preferences or a weakening of the U.S. or global economies, may result in decreased revenue or growth.
Our sales and operating results will also fluctuate for many other reasons, including due to risks described elsewhere in this section and the following:
our ability to retain and increase sales to existing customers, attract new customers, and satisfy our customers’ demands;
our ability to retain and expand our network of sellers;
our ability to offer products on favorable terms, manage inventory, and fulfill orders;
the introduction of competitive websites, products, services, price decreases, or improvements;
changes in usage or adoption rates of the Internet, e-commerce, electronic devices, and web services, including outside the U.S.;
timing, effectiveness, and costs of expansion and upgrades of our systems and infrastructure;
the success of our geographic, service, and product line expansions;

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the extent to which we finance, and the terms of any such financing for, our current operations and future growth;
the outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, which may include significant monetary damages or injunctive relief and could have a material adverse impact on our operating results;
variations in the mix of products and services we sell;
variations in our level of merchandise and vendor returns;
the extent to which we offer free shipping, continue to reduce prices worldwide, and provide additional benefits to our customers;
the extent to which we invest in technology and content, fulfillment, and other expense categories;
increases in the prices of fuel and gasoline, as well as increases in the prices of other energy products and commodities like paper and packing supplies;
the extent to which our equity-method investees record significant operating and non-operating items;
the extent to which operators of the networks between our customers and our websites successfully charge fees to grant our customers unimpaired and unconstrained access to our online services;
our ability to collect amounts owed to us when they become due;
the extent to which use of our services is affected by spyware, viruses, phishing and other spam emails, denial of service attacks, data theft, computer intrusions, outages, and similar events; and
terrorist attacks and armed hostilities.
Our International Operations Expose Us to a Number of Risks
Our international activities are significant to our revenues and profits, and we plan to further expand internationally. In certain international market segments, we have relatively little operating experience and may not benefit from any first-to-market advantages or otherwise succeed. It is costly to establish, develop, and maintain international operations and websites, and promote our brand internationally. Our international operations may not be profitable on a sustained basis.
In addition to risks described elsewhere in this section, our international sales and operations are subject to a number of risks, including:
local economic and political conditions;
government regulation of e-commerce and other services, electronic devices, and competition, and restrictive governmental actions (such as trade protection measures, including export duties and quotas and custom duties and tariffs), nationalization, and restrictions on foreign ownership;
restrictions on sales or distribution of certain products or services and uncertainty regarding liability for products, services, and content, including uncertainty as a result of less Internet-friendly legal systems, local laws, lack of legal precedent, and varying rules, regulations, and practices regarding the physical and digital distribution of media products and enforcement of intellectual property rights;
business licensing or certification requirements, such as for imports, exports, web services, and electronic devices;
limitations on the repatriation and investment of funds and foreign currency exchange restrictions;
limited fulfillment and technology infrastructure;
shorter payable and longer receivable cycles and the resultant negative impact on cash flow;
laws and regulations regarding consumer and data protection, privacy, network security, encryption, payments, and restrictions on pricing or discounts;
lower levels of use of the Internet;
lower levels of consumer spending and fewer opportunities for growth compared to the U.S.;
lower levels of credit card usage and increased payment risk;
difficulty in staffing, developing, and managing foreign operations as a result of distance, language, and cultural differences;
different employee/employer relationships and the existence of works councils and labor unions;
compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other applicable U.S. and foreign laws prohibiting corrupt payments to government officials and other third parties;

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laws and policies of the U.S. and other jurisdictions affecting trade, foreign investment, loans, and taxes; and
geopolitical events, including war and terrorism.
As international e-commerce and other online and web services grow, competition will intensify. Local companies may have a substantial competitive advantage because of their greater understanding of, and focus on, the local customer, as well as their more established local brand names. We may not be able to hire, train, retain, and manage required personnel, which may limit our international growth.
The People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) and India regulate Amazon’s and its affiliates’ businesses and operations in country through regulations and license requirements that may restrict (i) foreign investment in and operation of the Internet, IT infrastructure, data centers, retail, delivery, and other sectors, (ii) Internet content, and (iii) the sale of media and other products and services. For example, in order to meet local ownership and regulatory licensing requirements, www.amazon.cn is operated by PRC companies that are indirectly owned, either wholly or partially, by PRC nationals. In addition, we provide certain technology services in China in conjunction with third parties that hold PRC licenses to provide services. In India, the government restricts the ownership or control of Indian companies by foreign entities involved in online multi-brand retail trading activities. For www.amazon.in, we provide certain marketing tools and logistics services to third party sellers to enable them to sell online and deliver to customers, and we hold an indirect minority interest in an entity that is a third-party seller on the www.amazon.in marketplace. Although we believe these structures and activities comply with existing laws, they involve unique risks, and the PRC is actively considering changes in its foreign investment rules that could impact these structures and activities. There are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation of PRC and Indian laws and regulations, and it is possible that these governments will ultimately take a view contrary to ours. In addition, our Chinese and Indian businesses and operations may be unable to continue to operate if we or our affiliates are unable to access sufficient funding or in China enforce contractual relationships with respect to management and control of such businesses. If our international activities were found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC, Indian or other laws or regulations or if interpretations of those laws and regulations were to change, our businesses in those countries could be subject to fines and other financial penalties, have licenses revoked, or be forced to shut down entirely.
If We Do Not Successfully Optimize and Operate Our Fulfillment Network and Data Centers, Our Business Could Be Harmed
If we do not adequately predict customer demand or otherwise optimize and operate our fulfillment network and data centers successfully, it could result in excess or insufficient fulfillment or data center capacity, or result in increased costs, impairment charges, or both, or harm our business in other ways. As we continue to add fulfillment and data center capability or add new businesses with different requirements, our fulfillment and data center networks become increasingly complex and operating them becomes more challenging. There can be no assurance that we will be able to operate our networks effectively.
In addition, a failure to optimize inventory in our fulfillment network will increase our net shipping cost by requiring long-zone or partial shipments. Orders from several of our websites are fulfilled primarily from a single location, and we have only a limited ability to reroute orders to third parties for drop-shipping. We and our co-sourcers may be unable to adequately staff our fulfillment network and customer service centers. If the other businesses on whose behalf we perform inventory fulfillment services deliver product to our fulfillment centers in excess of forecasts, we may be unable to secure sufficient storage space and may be unable to optimize our fulfillment network.
We rely on a limited number of shipping companies to deliver inventory to us and completed orders to our customers. If we are not able to negotiate acceptable terms with these companies or they experience performance problems or other difficulties, it could negatively impact our operating results and customer experience. In addition, our ability to receive inbound inventory efficiently and ship completed orders to customers also may be negatively affected by inclement weather, fire, flood, power loss, earthquakes, labor disputes, acts of war or terrorism, acts of God, and similar factors.
Third parties either drop-ship or otherwise fulfill an increasing portion of our customers’ orders, and we are increasingly reliant on the reliability, quality, and future procurement of their services. Under some of our commercial agreements, we maintain the inventory of other companies, thereby increasing the complexity of tracking inventory and operating our fulfillment network. Our failure to properly handle such inventory or the inability of these other companies to accurately forecast product demand would result in unexpected costs and other harm to our business and reputation.

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The Seasonality of Our Business Places Increased Strain on Our Operations
We expect a disproportionate amount of our net sales to occur during our fourth quarter. If we do not stock or restock popular products in sufficient amounts such that we fail to meet customer demand, it could significantly affect our revenue and our future growth. If we overstock products, we may be required to take significant inventory markdowns or write-offs and incur commitment costs, which could reduce profitability. We may experience an increase in our net shipping cost due to complimentary upgrades, split-shipments, and additional long-zone shipments necessary to ensure timely delivery for the holiday season. If too many customers access our websites within a short period of time due to increased holiday demand, we may experience system interruptions that make our websites unavailable or prevent us from efficiently fulfilling orders, which may reduce the volume of goods we sell and the attractiveness of our products and services. In addition, we may be unable to adequately staff our fulfillment network and customer service centers during these peak periods and delivery and other fulfillment companies and customer service co-sourcers may be unable to meet the seasonal demand. We also face risks described elsewhere in this Item 1A relating to fulfillment network optimization and inventory.
We generally have payment terms with our retail vendors that extend beyond the amount of time necessary to collect proceeds from our consumer customers. As a result of holiday sales, as of December 31 of each year, our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities balances typically reach their highest level (other than as a result of cash flows provided by or used in investing and financing activities). This operating cycle results in a corresponding increase in accounts payable as of December 31. Our accounts payable balance generally declines during the first three months of the year, resulting in a corresponding decline in our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities balances.
Our Business Could Suffer if We Are Unsuccessful in Making, Integrating, and Maintaining Commercial Agreements, Strategic Alliances, and Other Business Relationships
We provide e-commerce and other services to businesses through commercial agreements, strategic alliances, and business relationships. Under these agreements, we provide web services, technology, fulfillment, computing, digital storage, and other services, as well as enable sellers to offer products or services through our websites. These arrangements are complex and require substantial infrastructure capacity, personnel, and other resource commitments, which may limit the amount of business we can service. We may not be able to implement, maintain, and develop the components of these commercial relationships, which may include web services, fulfillment, customer service, inventory management, tax collection, payment processing, hardware, content, and third-party software, and engaging third parties to perform services. The amount of compensation we receive under certain of our commercial agreements is partially dependent on the volume of the other company’s sales. Therefore, if the other company’s offering is not successful, the compensation we receive may be lower than expected or the agreement may be terminated. Moreover, we may not be able to enter into additional commercial relationships and strategic alliances on favorable terms. We also may be subject to claims from businesses to which we provide these services if we are unsuccessful in implementing, maintaining, or developing these services.
As our agreements terminate, we may be unable to renew or replace these agreements on comparable terms, or at all. We may in the future enter into amendments on less favorable terms or encounter parties that have difficulty meeting their contractual obligations to us, which could adversely affect our operating results.
Our present and future e-commerce services agreements, other commercial agreements, and strategic alliances create additional risks such as:
disruption of our ongoing business, including loss of management focus on existing businesses;
impairment of other relationships;
variability in revenue and income from entering into, amending, or terminating such agreements or relationships; and
difficulty integrating under the commercial agreements.
Our Business Could Suffer if We Are Unsuccessful in Making, Integrating, and Maintaining Acquisitions and Investments
We have acquired and invested in a number of companies, and we may acquire or invest in or enter into joint ventures with additional companies. These transactions create risks such as:
disruption of our ongoing business, including loss of management focus on existing businesses;
problems retaining key personnel;
additional operating losses and expenses of the businesses we acquired or in which we invested;
the potential impairment of tangible and intangible assets and goodwill, including as a result of acquisitions;

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the potential impairment of customer and other relationships of the company we acquired or in which we invested or our own customers as a result of any integration of operations;
the difficulty of incorporating acquired technology and rights into our offerings and unanticipated expenses related to such integration;
the difficulty of integrating a new company’s accounting, financial reporting, management, information and information security, human resource, and other administrative systems to permit effective management, and the lack of control if such integration is delayed or not implemented;
for investments in which an investee’s financial performance is incorporated into our financial results, either in full or in part, the dependence on the investee’s accounting, financial reporting, and similar systems, controls, and processes;
the difficulty of implementing at companies we acquire the controls, procedures, and policies appropriate for a larger public company;
potential unknown liabilities associated with a company we acquire or in which we invest; and
for foreign transactions, additional risks related to the integration of operations across different cultures and languages, and the economic, political, and regulatory risks associated with specific countries.
As a result of future acquisitions or mergers, we might need to issue additional equity securities, spend our cash, or incur debt, contingent liabilities, or amortization expenses related to intangible assets, any of which could reduce our profitability and harm our business. In addition, valuations supporting our acquisitions and strategic investments could change rapidly given the current global economic climate. We could determine that such valuations have experienced impairments or other-than-temporary declines in fair value which could adversely impact our financial results.
We Have Foreign Exchange Risk
The results of operations of, and certain of our intercompany balances associated with, our international websites and product and service offerings are exposed to foreign exchange rate fluctuations. Upon translation, operating results may differ materially from expectations, and we may record significant gains or losses on the remeasurement of intercompany balances. As we have expanded our international operations, our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations has increased. We also hold cash equivalents and/or marketable securities in foreign currencies including British Pounds, Chinese Yuan, Euros, and Japanese Yen. If the U.S. Dollar strengthens compared to these currencies, cash equivalents, and marketable securities balances, when translated, may be materially less than expected and vice versa.
The Loss of Key Senior Management Personnel Could Negatively Affect Our Business
We depend on our senior management and other key personnel, particularly Jeffrey P. Bezos, our President, CEO, and Chairman. We do not have “key person” life insurance policies. The loss of any of our executive officers or other key employees could harm our business.
We Could Be Harmed by Data Loss or Other Security Breaches
As a result of our services being web-based and the fact that we process, store, and transmit large amounts of data, including personal information, for our customers, failure to prevent or mitigate data loss or other security breaches, including breaches of our vendors’ technology and systems, could expose us or our customers to a risk of loss or misuse of such information, adversely affect our operating results, result in litigation or potential liability for us, and otherwise harm our business. We use third party technology and systems for a variety of reasons, including, without limitation, encryption and authentication technology, employee email, content delivery to customers, back-office support, and other functions. Some subsidiaries had past security breaches, and, although they did not have a material adverse effect on our operating results, there can be no assurance of a similar result in the future. Although we have developed systems and processes that are designed to protect customer information and prevent data loss and other security breaches, including systems and processes designed to reduce the impact of a security breach at a third party vendor, such measures cannot provide absolute security.
We Face Risks Related to System Interruption and Lack of Redundancy
We experience occasional system interruptions and delays that make our websites and services unavailable or slow to respond and prevent us from efficiently fulfilling orders or providing services to third parties, which may reduce our net sales and the attractiveness of our products and services. If we are unable to continually add software and hardware, effectively upgrade our systems and network infrastructure, and take other steps to improve the efficiency of our systems, it could cause system interruptions or delays and adversely affect our operating results.

10


Our computer and communications systems and operations could be damaged or interrupted by fire, flood, power loss, telecommunications failure, earthquakes, acts of war or terrorism, acts of God, computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins, and similar events or disruptions. Any of these events could cause system interruption, delays, and loss of critical data, and could prevent us from accepting and fulfilling customer orders and providing services, which could make our product and service offerings less attractive and subject us to liability. Our systems are not fully redundant and our disaster recovery planning may not be sufficient. In addition, we may have inadequate insurance coverage to compensate for any related losses. Any of these events could damage our reputation and be expensive to remedy.
We Face Significant Inventory Risk
In addition to risks described elsewhere in this Item 1A relating to fulfillment network and inventory optimization by us and third parties, we are exposed to significant inventory risks that may adversely affect our operating results as a result of seasonality, new product launches, rapid changes in product cycles and pricing, defective merchandise, changes in consumer demand and consumer spending patterns, changes in consumer tastes with respect to our products, and other factors. We endeavor to accurately predict these trends and avoid overstocking or understocking products we manufacture and/or sell. Demand for products, however, can change significantly between the time inventory or components are ordered and the date of sale. In addition, when we begin selling or manufacturing a new product, it may be difficult to establish vendor relationships, determine appropriate product or component selection, and accurately forecast demand. The acquisition of certain types of inventory or components may require significant lead-time and prepayment and they may not be returnable. We carry a broad selection and significant inventory levels of certain products, such as consumer electronics, and we may be unable to sell products in sufficient quantities or during the relevant selling seasons. Any one of the inventory risk factors set forth above may adversely affect our operating results.
We May Not Be Able to Adequately Protect Our Intellectual Property Rights or May Be Accused of Infringing Intellectual Property Rights of Third Parties
We regard our trademarks, service marks, copyrights, patents, trade dress, trade secrets, proprietary technology, and similar intellectual property as critical to our success, and we rely on trademark, copyright, and patent law, trade secret protection, and confidentiality and/or license agreements with our employees, customers, and others to protect our proprietary rights. Effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which our products and services are made available. We also may not be able to acquire or maintain appropriate domain names in all countries in which we do business. Furthermore, regulations governing domain names may not protect our trademarks and similar proprietary rights. We may be unable to prevent third parties from acquiring domain names that are similar to, infringe upon, or diminish the value of our trademarks and other proprietary rights.
We may not be able to discover or determine the extent of any unauthorized use of our proprietary rights. Third parties that license our proprietary rights also may take actions that diminish the value of our proprietary rights or reputation. The protection of our intellectual property may require the expenditure of significant financial and managerial resources. Moreover, the steps we take to protect our intellectual property may not adequately protect our rights or prevent third parties from infringing or misappropriating our proprietary rights. We also cannot be certain that others will not independently develop or otherwise acquire equivalent or superior technology or other intellectual property rights.
Other parties also may claim that we infringe their proprietary rights. We have been subject to, and expect to continue to be subject to, claims and legal proceedings regarding alleged infringement by us of the intellectual property rights of third parties. Such claims, whether or not meritorious, may result in the expenditure of significant financial and managerial resources, injunctions against us, or the payment of damages, including to satisfy indemnification obligations. We may need to obtain licenses from third parties who allege that we have infringed their rights, but such licenses may not be available on terms acceptable to us or at all. In addition, we may not be able to obtain or utilize on terms that are favorable to us, or at all, licenses or other rights with respect to intellectual property we do not own. These risks have been amplified by the increase in third parties whose sole or primary business is to assert such claims.
Our digital content offerings depend in part on effective digital rights management technology to control access to digital content. If the digital rights management technology that we use is compromised or otherwise malfunctions, we could be subject to claims, and content providers may be unwilling to include their content in our service.
We Have a Rapidly Evolving Business Model and Our Stock Price Is Highly Volatile
We have a rapidly evolving business model. The trading price of our common stock fluctuates significantly in response to, among other risks, the risks described elsewhere in this Item 1A, as well as:
changes in interest rates;
conditions or trends in the Internet and the industry segments we operate in;

11


quarterly variations in operating results;
fluctuations in the stock market in general and market prices for Internet-related companies in particular;
changes in financial estimates by us or securities analysts and recommendations by securities analysts;
changes in our capital structure, including issuance of additional debt or equity to the public;
changes in the valuation methodology of, or performance by, other e-commerce or technology companies; and
transactions in our common stock by major investors and certain analyst reports, news, and speculation.
Volatility in our stock price could adversely affect our business and financing opportunities and force us to increase our cash compensation to employees or grant larger stock awards than we have historically, which could hurt our operating results or reduce the percentage ownership of our existing stockholders, or both.
Government Regulation Is Evolving and Unfavorable Changes Could Harm Our Business
We are subject to general business regulations and laws, as well as regulations and laws specifically governing the Internet, e-commerce, electronic devices, and other services. Existing and future laws and regulations may impede our growth. These regulations and laws may cover taxation, privacy, data protection, pricing, content, copyrights, distribution, mobile communications, electronic device certification, electronic waste, energy consumption, environmental regulation, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, consumer protection, web services, the provision of online payment services, information reporting requirements, unencumbered Internet access to our services or access to our facilities, the design and operation of websites, the characteristics and quality of products and services, and the commercial operation of unmanned aircraft systems. It is not clear how existing laws governing issues such as property ownership, libel, and personal privacy apply to the Internet, e-commerce, digital content, and web services. Jurisdictions may regulate consumer-to-consumer online businesses, including certain aspects of our seller programs. Unfavorable regulations and laws could diminish the demand for our products and services and increase our cost of doing business.
We Could Be Subject to Additional Sales Tax or Other Indirect Tax Liabilities
U.S. Supreme Court decisions restrict the imposition of obligations to collect state and local sales taxes with respect to remote sales in the U.S. However, an increasing number of states, and certain foreign jurisdictions, have considered or adopted laws or administrative practices that attempt to impose obligations on remote sellers and online marketplaces to collect taxes on their behalf. We support a Federal law that would allow states to require sales tax collection by remote sellers under a nationwide system. More than half of our revenue is already earned in jurisdictions where we collect sales tax or its equivalent. A successful assertion by one or more states or foreign countries requiring us to collect taxes where we do not do so could result in substantial tax liabilities, including for past sales, as well as penalties and interest. In addition, if the tax authorities in jurisdictions where we already collect sales tax or other indirect taxes were successfully to challenge our positions, our tax liability could increase substantially.
We Could Be Subject to Additional Income Tax Liabilities
We are subject to income taxes in the U.S. (federal and state) and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Tax laws, regulations, and administrative practices in various jurisdictions may be subject to significant change due to economic, political, and other conditions, and significant judgment is required in evaluating and estimating our provision and accruals for these taxes. There are many transactions that occur during the ordinary course of business for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Our effective tax rates could be adversely affected by earnings being lower than anticipated in jurisdictions where we have lower statutory rates and higher than anticipated in jurisdictions where we have higher statutory rates, losses incurred in jurisdictions for which we are not able to realize the related tax benefit, changes in foreign currency exchange rates, entry into new businesses and geographies and changes to our existing businesses, acquisitions (including integrations) and investments, changes in our deferred tax assets and liabilities and their valuation, and changes in the relevant tax, accounting, and other laws, regulations, administrative practices, principles, and interpretations, including fundamental changes to the tax laws applicable to corporate multinationals. The U.S., the European Union and its member states, and a number of other countries are actively pursuing changes in this regard.
Except as required under U.S. tax laws, we do not provide for U.S. taxes on our undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries that have not been previously taxed since we intend to invest such undistributed earnings indefinitely outside of the U.S. If our intent changes or if these funds are needed for our U.S. operations, we would be required to accrue or pay U.S. taxes on some or all of these undistributed earnings and our effective tax rate would be adversely affected. We are also currently subject to audit in various jurisdictions, and these jurisdictions may assess additional income tax liabilities against us. Developments in an audit, litigation, or the relevant laws, regulations, administrative practices, principles, and interpretations could have a material effect on our operating results or cash flows in the period or periods for which that development occurs,

12


as well as for prior and subsequent periods. For instance, the IRS is seeking to increase our U.S. taxable income related to transfer pricing with our foreign subsidiaries for transactions undertaken in 2005 and 2006, and we are currently contesting the matter in U.S. Tax Court. In addition to the risk of additional tax for 2005 and 2006 transactions, if this litigation is adversely determined or if the IRS were to seek transfer pricing adjustments of a similar nature for transactions in subsequent years, we could be subject to significant additional tax liabilities. In addition, in October 2014, the European Commission opened a formal investigation to examine whether decisions by the tax authorities in Luxembourg with regard to the corporate income tax paid by certain of our subsidiaries comply with European Union rules on state aid. If this matter is adversely resolved, Luxembourg may be required to assess, and we may be required to pay, additional amounts with respect to current and prior periods and our taxes in the future could increase. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final outcome of tax audits, investigations, and any related litigation could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions and accruals.
Our Supplier Relationships Subject Us to a Number of Risks
We have significant suppliers, including licensors, and in some cases, limited or single-sources of supply, that are important to our sourcing, services, manufacturing, and any related ongoing servicing of merchandise and content. We do not have long-term arrangements with most of our suppliers to guarantee availability of merchandise, content, components, or services, particular payment terms, or the extension of credit limits. If our current suppliers were to stop selling or licensing merchandise, content, components, or services to us on acceptable terms, or delay delivery, including as a result of one or more supplier bankruptcies due to poor economic conditions, as a result of natural disasters, or for other reasons, we may be unable to procure alternatives from other suppliers in a timely and efficient manner and on acceptable terms, or at all. In addition, if our suppliers or other vendors violate applicable laws, regulations, our code of standards and responsibilities, or implement practices regarded as unethical, unsafe, or hazardous to the environment, it could damage our reputation, limit our growth, and negatively affect our operating results.
We May Be Subject to Risks Related to Government Contracts and Related Procurement Regulations
Our contracts with U.S., as well as state, local, and foreign, government entities are subject to various procurement regulations and other requirements relating to their formation, administration, and performance. We may be subject to audits and investigations relating to our government contracts, and any violations could result in various civil and criminal penalties and administrative sanctions, including termination of contract, refunding or suspending of payments, forfeiture of profits, payment of fines, and suspension or debarment from future government business. In addition, such contracts may provide for termination by the government at any time, without cause.
We May Be Subject to Product Liability Claims if People or Property Are Harmed by the Products We Sell
Some of the products we sell or manufacture may expose us to product liability claims relating to personal injury, death, or environmental or property damage, and may require product recalls or other actions. Certain third parties also sell products using our e-commerce platform that may increase our exposure to product liability claims, such as if these sellers do not have sufficient protection from such claims. Although we maintain liability insurance, we cannot be certain that our coverage will be adequate for liabilities actually incurred or that insurance will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all. In addition, some of our agreements with our vendors and sellers do not indemnify us from product liability.
We Are Subject to Payments-Related Risks
We accept payments using a variety of methods, including credit card, debit card, credit accounts (including promotional financing), gift cards, direct debit from a customer’s bank account, consumer invoicing, physical bank check, and payment upon delivery. For existing and future payment options we offer to our customers, we may become subject to additional regulations and compliance requirements (including obligations to implement enhanced authentication processes that could result in significant costs and reduce the ease of use of our payments products), as well as fraud. For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs and lower profitability. We rely on third parties to provide certain Amazon-branded payment methods and payment processing services, including the processing of credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks, and promotional financing. In each case, it could disrupt our business if these companies become unwilling or unable to provide these services to us. We also offer co-branded credit card programs, which could adversely affect our operating results if terminated. We are also subject to payment card association operating rules, including data security rules, certification requirements, and rules governing electronic funds transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it difficult or impossible for us to comply. If we fail to comply with these rules or requirements, or if our data security systems are breached or compromised, we may be liable for card issuing banks’ costs, subject to fines and higher transaction fees, and lose our ability to accept credit and debit card payments from our customers, process electronic funds transfers, or facilitate other types of online payments, and our business and operating

13


results could be adversely affected.
In addition, we provide regulated services in certain jurisdictions because we enable customers to keep account balances with us and transfer money to third parties, and because we provide services to third parties to facilitate payments on their behalf. In these jurisdictions, we may be subject to requirements for licensing, regulatory inspection, bonding and capital maintenance, the use, handling, and segregation of transferred funds, consumer disclosures, and authentication. We are also subject to or voluntarily comply with a number of other laws and regulations relating to payments, money laundering, international money transfers, privacy and information security, and electronic fund transfers. If we were found to be in violation of applicable laws or regulations, we could be subject to additional requirements and civil and criminal penalties, or forced to cease providing certain services.
We Could Be Liable for Fraudulent or Unlawful Activities of Sellers
The law relating to the liability of providers of online payment services is currently unsettled. In addition, governmental agencies could require changes in the way this business is conducted. Under our seller programs, we may be unable to prevent sellers from collecting payments, fraudulently or otherwise, when buyers never receive the products they ordered or when the products received are materially different from the sellers’ descriptions. Under our A2Z Guarantee, we reimburse buyers for payments up to certain limits in these situations, and as our marketplace seller sales grow, the cost of this program will increase and could negatively affect our operating results. We also may be unable to prevent sellers on our sites or through other seller sites from selling unlawful goods, selling goods in an unlawful manner, or violating the proprietary rights of others, and could face civil or criminal liability for unlawful activities by our sellers.

Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments
None.


14


Item 2.
Properties
As of December 31, 2015, we operated the following facilities (in thousands):
 
Description of Use
 
Leased Square
Footage (1)
 
Owned Square Footage
 
Location
Office space
 
7,245

 
2,601

 
North America
Office space
 
4,843

 

 
International
Fulfillment, data centers, and other
 
69,890

 
1,765

 
North America
Fulfillment, data centers, and other
 
47,976

 
670

 
International
Total
 
129,954

 
5,036

 
 
 ___________________
(1)
For leased properties, represents the total leased space excluding sub-leased space.
Segment
 
Leased Square
Footage (1)
 
Owned Square Footage (1)
North America
 
67,103

 
398

International
 
45,950

 
143

AWS
 
4,813

 
1,894

Total
 
117,866

 
2,435

 ___________________
(1)
Segment amounts exclude corporate facilities. Shared facilities are allocated among the segments based on usage and primarily relate to facilities that hold our technology infrastructure. See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 11—Segment Information.”
We own and lease our corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Additionally, we own and lease corporate office, fulfillment, sortation, delivery, warehouse operations, data center, customer service, and other facilities, principally in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Item 3.
Legal Proceedings
See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 7—Commitments and Contingencies—Legal Proceedings.”

Item 4.
Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.


15


PART II

Item 5.
Market for the Registrant’s Common Stock, Related Shareholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information
Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “AMZN.” The following table sets forth the high and low per share sale prices for our common stock for the periods indicated, as reported by the NASDAQ Global Select Market.
 
 
 
High
 
Low
Year ended December 31, 2014
 
 
 
 
First Quarter
 
$
408.06

 
$
330.88

Second Quarter
 
348.30

 
284.38

Third Quarter
 
364.85

 
304.59

Fourth Quarter
 
341.26

 
284.00

Year ended December 31, 2015
 
 
 
 
First Quarter
 
$
389.37

 
$
285.25

Second Quarter
 
452.65

 
368.34

Third Quarter
 
580.57

 
425.57

Fourth Quarter
 
696.44

 
506.00

Holders
As of January 20, 2016, there were 2,578 shareholders of record of our common stock, although there is a much larger number of beneficial owners.
Dividends
We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock. See Item 7 of Part II, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
None.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
None.


16


Item 6.
Selected Consolidated Financial Data
The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto in Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” and the information contained in Item 7 of Part II, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Historical results are not necessarily indicative of future results.
 
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
 
(in millions, except per share data)
Statements of Operations:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
 
$
107,006

 
$
88,988

 
$
74,452

 
$
61,093

 
$
48,077

Income from operations
 
$
2,233

 
$
178

 
$
745

 
$
676

 
$
862

Net income (loss)
 
$
596

 
$
(241
)
 
$
274

 
$
(39
)
 
$
631

Basic earnings per share (1)
 
$
1.28

 
$
(0.52
)
 
$
0.60

 
$
(0.09
)
 
$
1.39

Diluted earnings per share (1)
 
$
1.25

 
$
(0.52
)
 
$
0.59

 
$
(0.09
)
 
$
1.37

Weighted-average shares used in computation of earnings per share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
 
467

 
462

 
457

 
453

 
453

Diluted
 
477

 
462

 
465

 
453

 
461

Statements of Cash Flows:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
 
$
11,920

 
$
6,842

 
$
5,475

 
$
4,180

 
$
3,903

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
December 31,
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
 
(in millions)
Balance Sheets:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total assets
 
$
65,444

 
$
54,505

 
$
40,159

 
$
32,555

 
$
25,278

Total long-term obligations
 
$
18,161

 
$
15,675

 
$
7,433

 
$
5,361

 
$
2,625

 ___________________
(1)
For further discussion of earnings per share, see Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 1—Description of Business and Accounting Policies.”

 


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Item 7.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Forward-Looking Statements
This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding guidance, industry prospects, or future results of operations or financial position, made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are forward-looking. We use words such as anticipates, believes, expects, future, intends, and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect management’s current expectations and are inherently uncertain. Actual results could differ materially for a variety of reasons, including, among others, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and customer spending, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet and online commerce, the amount that Amazon.com invests in new business opportunities and the timing of those investments, the mix of products sold to customers, the mix of net sales derived from products as compared with services, the extent to which we owe income taxes, competition, management of growth, potential fluctuations in operating results, international growth and expansion, the outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment, sortation, delivery, and data center optimization, risks of inventory management, seasonality, the degree to which we enter into, maintain, and develop commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, payments risks, and risks of fulfillment throughput and productivity. In addition, the current global economic climate amplifies many of these risks. These risks and uncertainties, as well as other risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ significantly from management’s expectations, are described in greater detail in Item 1A of Part I, “Risk Factors.”
Overview
Our primary source of revenue is the sale of a wide range of products and services to customers. The products offered on our consumer-facing websites primarily include merchandise and content we have purchased for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers, and we also manufacture and sell electronic devices. Generally, we recognize gross revenue from items we sell from our inventory as product sales and recognize our net share of revenue of items sold by third-party sellers as service sales. We also offer other services such as compute, storage, and database offerings, fulfillment, publishing, digital content subscriptions, advertising, and co-branded credit cards.
Our financial focus is on long-term, sustainable growth in free cash flows1 per share. Free cash flows are driven primarily by increasing operating income and efficiently managing working capital2 and cash capital expenditures, including our decision to purchase or lease property and equipment. Increases in operating income primarily result from increases in sales of products and services and efficiently managing our operating costs, partially offset by investments we make in longer-term strategic initiatives. To increase sales of products and services, we focus on improving all aspects of the customer experience, including lowering prices, improving availability, offering faster delivery and performance times, increasing selection, increasing product categories and service offerings, expanding product information, improving ease of use, improving reliability, and earning customer trust. We also seek to efficiently manage shareholder dilution while maintaining the flexibility to issue shares for strategic purposes, such as financings, acquisitions, and aligning employee compensation with shareholders’ interests. We utilize restricted stock units as our primary vehicle for equity compensation because we believe this compensation model aligns the long-term interests of our shareholders and employees. In measuring shareholder dilution, we include all vested and unvested stock awards outstanding, without regard to estimated forfeitures. Total shares outstanding plus outstanding stock awards were 490 million and 483 million as of December 31, 2015 and 2014.
We seek to reduce our variable costs per unit and work to leverage our fixed costs. Our variable costs include product and content costs, payment processing and related transaction costs, picking, packaging, and preparing orders for shipment, transportation, customer service support, costs necessary to run AWS, and a portion of our marketing costs. Our fixed costs include the costs necessary to run our technology infrastructure; to build, enhance, and add features to our websites and web services, our electronic devices, and digital offerings; and to build and optimize our fulfillment centers. Variable costs generally change directly with sales volume, while fixed costs generally are dependent on the timing of capacity needs, geographic expansion, category expansion, and other factors. To decrease our variable costs on a per unit basis and enable us to lower prices for customers, we seek to increase our direct sourcing, increase discounts from suppliers, and reduce defects in our processes. To minimize growth in fixed costs, we seek to improve process efficiencies and maintain a lean culture.

_______________________
(1)
See “Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below for additional information on our non-GAAP free cash flows financial measures.
(2)
Working capital consists of accounts receivable, inventory, and accounts payable.

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Because of our model we are able to turn our inventory quickly and have a cash-generating operating cycle3. On average, our high inventory velocity means we generally collect from consumers before our payments to suppliers come due. Inventory turnover4 was 8 for 2015 and 9 for 2014 and 2013. We expect variability in inventory turnover over time since it is affected by several factors, including our product mix, the mix of sales by us and by third-party sellers, our continuing focus on in-stock inventory availability and selection of product offerings, our investment in new geographies and product lines, and the extent to which we choose to utilize third-party fulfillment providers. Accounts payable days5 were 77, 73, and 74 for 2015, 2014, and 2013. We expect some variability in accounts payable days over time since they are affected by several factors, including the mix of product sales, the mix of sales by third-party sellers, the mix of suppliers, seasonality, and changes in payment terms over time, including the effect of balancing pricing and timing of payment terms with suppliers.
We expect spending in technology and content will increase over time as we add computer scientists, designers, software and hardware engineers, and merchandising employees. Our technology and content investment and capital spending projects often support a variety of product and service offerings due to geographic expansion and the cross-functionality of our systems and operations. We seek to invest efficiently in several areas of technology and content, including AWS, and expansion of new and existing product categories and service offerings, as well as in technology infrastructure to enhance the customer experience and improve our process efficiencies. We believe that advances in technology, specifically the speed and reduced cost of processing power and the advances of wireless connectivity, will continue to improve the consumer experience on the Internet and increase its ubiquity in people’s lives. To best take advantage of these continued advances in technology, we are investing in initiatives to build and deploy innovative and efficient software and electronic devices. We are also investing in AWS, which offers a broad set of global compute, storage, database, and other service offerings to developers and enterprises of all sizes.
Our financial reporting currency is the U.S. Dollar and changes in foreign exchange rates significantly affect our reported results and consolidated trends. For example, if the U.S. Dollar weakens year-over-year relative to currencies in our international locations, our consolidated net sales and operating expenses will be higher than if currencies had remained constant. Likewise, if the U.S. Dollar strengthens year-over-year relative to currencies in our international locations, our consolidated net sales and operating expenses will be lower than if currencies had remained constant. We believe that our increasing diversification beyond the U.S. economy through our growing international businesses benefits our shareholders over the long-term. We also believe it is useful to evaluate our operating results and growth rates before and after the effect of currency changes.
In addition, the remeasurement of our intercompany balances can result in significant gains and charges associated with the effect of movements in foreign currency exchange rates. Currency volatilities may continue, which may significantly impact (either positively or negatively) our reported results and consolidated trends and comparisons.
For additional information about each line item summarized above, refer to Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 1—Description of Business and Accounting Policies.”
Critical Accounting Judgments
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles of the United States (“GAAP”) requires estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. The SEC has defined a company’s critical accounting policies as the ones that are most important to the portrayal of the company’s financial condition and results of operations, and which require the company to make its most difficult and subjective judgments, often as a result of the need to make estimates of matters that are inherently uncertain. Based on this definition, we have identified the critical accounting policies and judgments addressed below. We also have other key accounting policies, which involve the use of estimates, judgments, and assumptions that are significant to understanding our results. For additional information, see Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 1—Description of Business and Accounting Policies.” Although we believe that our estimates, assumptions, and judgments are reasonable, they are based upon information presently available. Actual results may differ significantly from these estimates under different assumptions, judgments, or conditions.

 
_______________________
(3)
The operating cycle is the number of days of sales in inventory plus the number of days of sales in accounts receivable minus accounts payable days.
(4)
Inventory turnover is the quotient of trailing twelve month cost of sales to average inventory over five quarter ends.
(5)
Accounts payable days, calculated as the quotient of accounts payable to current quarter cost of sales, multiplied by the number of days in the current quarter.

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Inventories
Inventories, consisting of products available for sale, are primarily accounted for using the first-in first-out (“FIFO”) method, and are valued at the lower of cost or market value. This valuation requires us to make judgments, based on currently-available information, about the likely method of disposition, such as through sales to individual customers, returns to product vendors, or liquidations, and expected recoverable values of each disposition category. These assumptions about future disposition of inventory are inherently uncertain and changes in our estimates and assumptions may cause us to realize material write-downs in the future. As a measure of sensitivity, for every 1% of additional inventory valuation allowance as of December 31, 2015, we would have recorded an additional cost of sales of approximately $115 million.
In addition, we enter into supplier commitments for certain electronic device components. These commitments are based on forecasted customer demand. If we reduce these commitments, we may incur additional costs.
Goodwill
We evaluate goodwill for impairment annually or more frequently when an event occurs or circumstances change that indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. During the second quarter of 2015, we changed the measurement date of our annual goodwill impairment test from October 1 to April 1. In testing for goodwill impairment, we may elect to utilize a qualitative assessment to evaluate whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. If our qualitative assessment indicates that goodwill impairment is more likely than not, we perform a two-step impairment test. We test goodwill for impairment under the two-step impairment test by first comparing the book value of net assets to the fair value of the reporting units. If the fair value is determined to be less than the book value or qualitative factors indicate that it is more likely than not that goodwill is impaired, a second step is performed to compute the amount of impairment as the difference between the estimated fair value of goodwill and the carrying value. We estimate the fair value of the reporting units using discounted cash flows. Forecasts of future cash flows are based on our best estimate of future net sales and operating expenses, based primarily on expected category expansion, pricing, market segment share, and general economic conditions. Certain estimates of discounted cash flows involve businesses and geographies with limited financial history and developing revenue models. Changes in these forecasts could significantly change the amount of impairment recorded, if any.
During the year, management monitored the actual performance of the business relative to the fair value assumptions used during our annual goodwill impairment test. For the periods presented, no triggering events were identified that required an interim impairment test. As a measure of sensitivity, a 10% decrease in the fair value of any of our reporting units as of April 1, 2015, would have had no impact on the carrying value of our goodwill.
Financial and credit market volatility directly impacts the fair value measurement through our weighted-average cost of capital that we use to determine a discount rate and through our stock price that we use to determine our market capitalization. During times of volatility, significant judgment must be applied to determine whether credit or stock price changes are short-term in nature or a longer-term trend. We have not made any significant changes to the accounting methodology used to evaluate goodwill for impairment. Changes in our estimated future cash flows and asset fair values may cause us to realize material impairment charges in the future. As a measure of sensitivity, a prolonged 20% decrease from our December 31, 2015 closing stock price would not be an indicator of possible impairment.
Stock-Based Compensation
We measure compensation cost for stock awards at fair value and recognize it as compensation expense over the service period for awards expected to vest. The fair value of restricted stock units is determined based on the number of shares granted and the quoted price of our common stock and the fair value of stock options is estimated on the date of grant using a Black-Scholes model. The estimated number of stock awards that will ultimately vest requires judgment, and to the extent actual results or updated estimates differ from our current estimates, such amounts will be recorded as a cumulative adjustment in the period estimates are revised. We consider many factors when estimating expected forfeitures, including employee level, economic conditions, time remaining to vest, and historical forfeiture experience. We update our estimated forfeiture rate quarterly. We have not made any significant changes to the accounting methodology used to evaluate stock-based compensation. Changes in our estimates and assumptions may cause us to realize material changes in stock-based compensation expense in the future. As a measure of sensitivity, a 1% change to our estimated forfeiture rate would have had an approximately $46 million impact on our 2015 operating income. Our estimated forfeiture rates as of December 31, 2015 and 2014, were 28% and 27%.
We utilize the accelerated method, rather than the straight-line method, for recognizing compensation expense. For example, over 50% of the compensation cost related to an award vesting ratably over four years is expensed in the first year. If forfeited early in the life of an award, the compensation expense adjustment is much greater under an accelerated method than under a straight-line method.

20


Income Taxes
We are subject to income taxes in the U.S. (federal and state) and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Tax laws, regulations, and administrative practices in various jurisdictions may be subject to significant change due to economic, political, and other conditions, and significant judgment is required in evaluating and estimating our provision and accruals for these taxes. There are many transactions that occur during the ordinary course of business for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Our effective tax rates could be adversely affected by earnings being lower than anticipated in jurisdictions where we have lower statutory rates and higher than anticipated in jurisdictions where we have higher statutory rates, losses incurred in jurisdictions for which we are not able to realize the related tax benefit, changes in foreign currency exchange rates, entry into new businesses and geographies and changes to our existing businesses, acquisitions (including integrations) and investments, changes in our deferred tax assets and liabilities and their valuation, and changes in the relevant tax, accounting, and other laws, regulations, administrative practices, principles, and interpretations, including fundamental changes to the tax laws applicable to corporate multinationals. The U.S., the European Union and its member states, and a number of other countries are actively pursuing changes in this regard.
Except as required under U.S. tax laws, we do not provide for U.S. taxes on our undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries that have not been previously taxed since we intend to invest such undistributed earnings indefinitely outside of the U.S. If our intent changes or if these funds are needed for our U.S. operations, we would be required to accrue or pay U.S. taxes on some or all of these undistributed earnings and our effective tax rate would be adversely affected. We are also currently subject to audit in various jurisdictions, and these jurisdictions may assess additional income tax liabilities against us. Developments in an audit, litigation, or the relevant laws, regulations, administrative practices, principles, and interpretations could have a material effect on our operating results or cash flows in the period or periods for which that development occurs, as well as for prior and subsequent periods. For instance, the IRS is seeking to increase our U.S. taxable income related to transfer pricing with our foreign subsidiaries for transactions undertaken in 2005 and 2006, and we are currently contesting the matter in U.S. Tax Court. In addition to the risk of additional tax for 2005 and 2006 transactions, if this litigation is adversely determined or if the IRS were to seek transfer pricing adjustments of a similar nature for transactions in subsequent years, we could be subject to significant additional tax liabilities. In addition, in October 2014, the European Commission opened a formal investigation to examine whether decisions by the tax authorities in Luxembourg with regard to the corporate income tax paid by certain of our subsidiaries comply with European Union rules on state aid. If this matter is adversely resolved, Luxembourg may be required to assess, and we may be required to pay, additional amounts with respect to current and prior periods and our taxes in the future could increase. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final outcome of tax audits, investigations, and any related litigation could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions and accruals.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 1—Description of Business and Accounting Policies—Recent Accounting Pronouncements.”


21


Liquidity and Capital Resources
Cash flow information is as follows (in millions):
 
  
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Cash provided by (used in):
 
 
 
 
 
Operating activities
$
11,920

 
$
6,842

 
$
5,475

Investing activities
(6,450
)
 
(5,065
)
 
(4,276
)
Financing activities
(3,763
)
 
4,432

 
(539
)
Our principal sources of liquidity are cash flows generated from operations and our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities balances, which, at fair value, were $19.8 billion, $17.4 billion, and $12.4 billion as of December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013. Amounts held in foreign currencies were $7.3 billion, $5.4 billion, and $5.6 billion as of December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, and were primarily Euros, Japanese Yen, and British Pounds.
Cash provided by operating activities was $11.9 billion, $6.8 billion, and $5.5 billion in 2015, 2014, and 2013. Our operating cash flows result primarily from cash received from our consumer, seller, developer, enterprise, and content creator customers, advertising agreements, and our co-branded credit card agreements, offset by cash payments we make for products and services, employee compensation (less amounts capitalized related to internal-use software that are reflected as cash used in investing activities), payment processing and related transaction costs, operating leases, and interest payments on our long-term obligations. Cash received from our customers and other activities generally corresponds to our net sales. Because consumers primarily use credit cards to buy from us, our receivables from consumers settle quickly. The increase in operating cash flow in 2015, compared to the comparable prior year period, was primarily due to the increase in net income (loss), excluding non-cash charges to net income (loss) such as depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation, and changes in working capital. The increase in operating cash flow in 2014, compared to the comparable prior year period, was primarily due to the increase in non-cash charges to net income (loss), including depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation, partially offset by changes in working capital.
Cash provided by (used in) investing activities corresponds with cash capital expenditures, including leasehold improvements, internal-use software and website development costs, cash outlays for acquisitions, investments in other companies and intellectual property rights, and purchases, sales, and maturities of marketable securities. Cash provided by (used in) investing activities was $(6.5) billion, $(5.1) billion, and $(4.3) billion in 2015, 2014, and 2013, with the variability caused primarily by our decision to purchase or lease property and equipment, purchases, maturities, and sales of marketable securities, and changes in cash paid for acquisitions. Cash capital expenditures were $4.6 billion, $4.9 billion, and $3.4 billion in 2015, 2014, and 2013. This primarily reflects additional investments in support of continued business growth due to investments in technology infrastructure (the majority of which is to support AWS), and additional capacity to support our fulfillment operations, during all three periods. Capital expenditures included $528 million, $537 million, and $493 million for internal-use software and website development in 2015, 2014, and 2013. Stock-based compensation capitalized for internal-use software and website development costs does not affect cash flows. In 2015, 2014, and 2013, we made cash payments, net of acquired cash, related to acquisition and other investment activity of $795 million, $979 million, and $312 million.
Cash provided by (used in) financing activities was $(3.8) billion, $4.4 billion, and $(539) million in 2015, 2014, and 2013. Cash outflows from financing activities result from principal repayments on obligations related to capital leases and finance leases and repayments of long-term debt and other. Principal repayments on obligations related to capital leases and finance leases and repayments of long-term debt and other were $4.2 billion, $1.9 billion, and $1.0 billion in 2015, 2014, and 2013. The increase in 2015 primarily reflects additional repayments on capital leases as well as a $750 million repayment on our unsecured senior notes. Property and equipment acquired under capital leases were $4.7 billion, $4.0 billion, and $1.9 billion in 2015, 2014, and 2013, with the increases reflecting additional investments in support of continued business growth primarily due to investments in technology infrastructure for AWS. We expect this trend toward additional investment to continue over time. Cash inflows from financing activities primarily result from proceeds from long-term debt and other and tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions. Proceeds from long-term debt and other were $353 million, $6.4 billion, and $394 million in 2015, 2014, and 2013. During 2014, cash inflows from financing activities consisted primarily of net proceeds from the issuance of $6.0 billion of senior nonconvertible unsecured debt in five tranches maturing in 2019 through 2044. See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 5—Long-Term Debt” for additional discussion of the notes. Tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions are presented as financing cash flows. Cash inflows from tax benefits related to stock-based compensation deductions were $119 million, $6 million, and $78 million in 2015, 2014, and 2013.

22


We had no borrowings outstanding under our $2.0 billion Credit Agreement as of December 31, 2015. See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 5—Long-Term Debt” for additional information. 
In 2015, 2014, and 2013, we recorded net tax provisions of $950 million, $167 million, and $161 million. Except as required under U.S. tax laws, we do not provide for U.S. taxes on our undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries that have not been previously taxed since we intend to invest such undistributed earnings indefinitely outside of the U.S. If our intent changes or if these funds are needed for our U.S. operations, we would be required to accrue or pay U.S. taxes on some or all of these undistributed earnings, and our effective tax rate would be adversely affected. As of December 31, 2015, cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities held by foreign subsidiaries were $5.8 billion, which included undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries indefinitely invested outside of the U.S. of $1.5 billion. We have tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions and accelerated depreciation deductions that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income. In December 2015, U.S. legislation was enacted that extended accelerated depreciation deductions on qualifying property through 2019. Cash taxes paid (net of refunds) were $273 million, $177 million, and $169 million for 2015, 2014, and 2013. As of December 31, 2015, our federal net operating loss carryforward was approximately $1.1 billion and we had approximately $622 million of federal tax credits potentially available to offset future tax liabilities. Our federal tax credits are primarily related to the U.S. federal research and development credit, which was made permanent in 2015. As we utilize our federal net operating losses and tax credits, we expect cash paid for taxes to significantly increase. We endeavor to manage our global taxes on a cash basis, rather than on a financial reporting basis.
Our liquidity is also affected by restricted cash balances that are pledged as collateral for standby and trade letters of credit, guarantees, debt, and real estate leases. To the extent we process payments for third-party sellers or offer certain types of stored value to our customers, some jurisdictions may restrict our use of those funds. These restrictions would result in the reclassification of a portion of our cash and cash equivalents from “Cash and cash equivalents” to restricted cash, which is classified within “Accounts receivable, net and other” on our consolidated balance sheets. As of December 31, 2015 and 2014, restricted cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities were $285 million and $450 million. See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 7—Commitments and Contingencies” for additional discussion of our principal contractual commitments, as well as our pledged assets. Purchase obligations and open purchase orders, consisting of inventory and significant non-inventory commitments, were $6.2 billion as of December 31, 2015. Purchase obligations and open purchase orders are generally cancellable in full or in part through the contractual provisions.
On average, our high inventory velocity means we generally collect from consumers before our payments to suppliers come due. Inventory turnover was 8 for 2015 and 9 for 2014 and 2013. We expect variability in inventory turnover over time since it is affected by several factors, including our product mix, the mix of sales by us and by third-party sellers, our continuing focus on in-stock inventory availability and selection of product offerings, our investment in new geographies and product lines, and the extent to which we choose to utilize third-party fulfillment providers.
We believe that cash flows generated from operations and our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities balances, as well as borrowing available under our credit agreements, will be sufficient to meet our anticipated operating cash needs for at least the next 12 months. However, any projections of future cash needs and cash flows are subject to substantial uncertainty. See Item 1A of Part I, “Risk Factors.” We continually evaluate opportunities to sell additional equity or debt securities, obtain credit facilities, obtain capital, finance, and operating lease arrangements, repurchase common stock, pay dividends, or repurchase, refinance, or otherwise restructure our debt for strategic reasons or to further strengthen our financial position.
The sale of additional equity or convertible debt securities would likely be dilutive to our shareholders. In addition, we will, from time to time, consider the acquisition of, or investment in, complementary businesses, products, services, capital infrastructure, and technologies, which might affect our liquidity requirements or cause us to secure additional financing, or issue additional equity or debt securities. There can be no assurance that additional lines-of-credit or financing instruments will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all.


23


Results of Operations
Beginning in the first quarter of 2015, we changed our reportable segments to North America, International, and AWS. These segments reflect the way the Company evaluates its business performance and manages its operations. See Item 1 of Part 1,“Financial Statements—Note 11—Segment Information.”
Net Sales
Net sales include product and service sales. Product sales represent revenue from the sale of products and related shipping fees and digital media content where we record revenue gross. Service sales represent third-party seller fees earned (including commissions) and related shipping fees, AWS sales, digital content subscriptions, advertising services, and our co-branded credit card agreements. Amazon Prime membership fees are allocated between product sales and service sales and amortized over the life of the membership according to the estimated delivery of services. Net sales information is as follows (in millions):
 
  
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Net Sales:
 
 
 
 
 
North America
$
63,708

 
$
50,834

 
$
41,410

International
35,418

 
33,510

 
29,934

AWS
7,880

 
4,644

 
3,108

Total consolidated
$
107,006

 
$
88,988

 
$
74,452

Year-over-year Percentage Growth:
 
 
 
 
 
North America
25
%
 
23
%
 
26
%
International
6

 
12

 
14

AWS
70

 
49

 
69

Total consolidated
20

 
20

 
22

Year-over-year Percentage Growth, excluding the effect of foreign exchange rates:
 
 
 
 
 
North America
26
%
 
23
%
 
26
%
International
21

 
14

 
19

AWS
70

 
49

 
69

Total consolidated
26

 
20

 
24

Net Sales Mix:
 
 
 
 
 
North America
60
%
 
57
%
 
56
%
International
33

 
38

 
40

AWS
7

 
5

 
4

Total consolidated
100
%
 
100
%
 
100
%
Sales increased 20%, 20%, and 22% in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates impacted net sales by $(5.2) billion, $(636) million, and $(1.3) billion for 2015, 2014, and 2013. For a discussion of the effect on sales growth of foreign exchange rates, see “Effect of Foreign Exchange Rates” below.
North America sales increased 25%, 23%, and 26% in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods. The sales growth in each year primarily reflects increased unit sales, including sales by marketplace sellers. Increased unit sales were driven largely by our continued efforts to reduce prices for our customers, including from our shipping offers, sales in faster growing categories such as electronics and other general merchandise, increased in-stock inventory availability, and increased selection of product offerings.
International sales increased 6%, 12%, and 14% in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods. The sales growth in each year primarily reflects increased unit sales, including sales by marketplace sellers, offset by the unfavorable effect of foreign exchange rates. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates impacted International net sales by $(5.0) billion, $(580) million, and $(1.3) billion in 2015, 2014, and 2013. Increased unit sales were driven largely by our continued efforts to reduce prices for our customers, including from our shipping offers, sales in faster growing categories such

24


as electronics and other general merchandise, increased in-stock inventory availability, and increased selection of product offerings.
AWS sales increased 70%, 49%, and 69% in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods. The sales growth primarily reflects increased customer usage, partially offset by pricing changes. Pricing changes were driven largely by our continued efforts to reduce prices for our customers.
Segment Operating Income (Loss)
Segment operating income (loss) is as follows (in millions):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Segment Operating Income (Loss)
 
 
 
 
 
North America
$
2,751

 
$
1,292

 
$
1,166

International
(91
)
 
(144
)
 
154

AWS
1,863

 
660

 
673

The increase in North America segment operating income in absolute dollars in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods, is primarily due to increased unit sales, including sales by marketplace sellers, partially offset by increased levels of operating expenses to expand our fulfillment capacity and spending on technology infrastructure. There was a favorable impact from foreign exchange rates of $30 million, $0, and $7 million for 2015, 2014, and 2013.
The decrease in International segment operating loss in absolute dollars in 2015, compared to the comparable prior year period, is primarily due to increased unit sales, including sales by marketplace sellers, partially offset by increased levels of operating expenses to expand our fulfillment capacity, spending on technology infrastructure and marketing efforts, and the unfavorable impact from foreign exchange rates. The unfavorable impact from foreign exchange rates was $278 million, $27 million, and $70 million for 2015, 2014, and 2013. The decrease in International segment operating income (loss) in absolute dollars in 2014, compared to the comparable prior year period, is primarily due to increased levels of operating expenses to expand our fulfillment capacity and spending on technology infrastructure and marketing efforts, partially offset by increased unit sales, including sales by marketplace sellers.
The increase in AWS segment operating income in absolute dollars in 2015, compared to the comparable prior year period, is primarily due to increased customer usage and cost structure productivity, partially offset by pricing changes and increased spending on technology infrastructure, which was primarily driven by additional investments to support the business growth. The decrease in AWS segment operating income in absolute dollars in 2014, compared to the comparable prior year period, is primarily due to pricing changes and increased spending on technology infrastructure, which was primarily driven by increased usage. There was a favorable impact from foreign exchange rates of $264 million, $41 million, and $38 million for 2015, 2014, and 2013.

25


Supplemental Information
Supplemental information about outbound shipping results for our North America and International segments is as follows (in millions):
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Outbound Shipping Activity:
 
 
 
 
 
Shipping revenue (1)(2)(3)
$
6,520

 
$
4,486

 
$
3,097

Shipping costs (4)
(11,539
)
 
(8,709
)
 
(6,635
)
Net shipping cost
$
(5,019
)
 
$
(4,223
)
 
$
(3,538
)
Year-over-year Percentage Growth:
 
 
 
 
 
Shipping revenue
45
 %
 
45
 %
 
36
 %
Shipping costs
32

 
31

 
29

Net shipping cost
19

 
19

 
24

Percent of Net Sales (5):
 
 
 
 
 
Shipping revenue
6.5
 %
 
5.3
 %
 
4.3
 %
Shipping costs
(11.6
)
 
(10.3
)
 
(9.3
)
Net shipping cost
(5.1
)%
 
(5.0
)%
 
(5.0
)%
___________________
(1)
Excludes amounts charged on shipping activities by third-party sellers where we do not provide the fulfillment service.
(2)
Includes a portion of amounts earned from Amazon Prime memberships.
(3)
Includes amounts earned from Fulfillment by Amazon programs related to shipping services.
(4)
Includes sortation and delivery center costs.
(5)
Includes North America and International segment net sales.
We expect our cost of shipping to continue to increase to the extent our customers accept and use our shipping offers at an increasing rate, our product mix shifts to the electronics and other general merchandise category, we reduce shipping rates, we use more expensive shipping methods, and we offer additional services. We seek to mitigate costs of shipping over time in part through achieving higher sales volumes, optimizing placement of fulfillment centers, negotiating better terms with our suppliers, and achieving better operating efficiencies. We believe that offering low prices to our customers is fundamental to our future success, and one way we offer lower prices is through shipping offers.

26


We have aggregated our North America and International segments’ products and services into groups of similar products and services and provided the supplemental disclosure of net sales (in millions) below. We evaluate whether additional disclosure is appropriate when a product or service category begins to approach a significant level of net sales. For the periods presented, no individual product or service represented more than 10% of net sales.    

  
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Net Sales:
 
 
 
 
 
North America
 
 
 
 
 
Media
$
12,483

 
$
11,567

 
$
10,809

Electronics and other general merchandise
50,401

 
38,517

 
29,985

Other (1)
824

 
750

 
616

Total North America
$
63,708

 
$
50,834

 
$
41,410

International
 
 
 
 
 
Media
$
10,026

 
$
10,938

 
$
10,907

Electronics and other general merchandise
25,196

 
22,369

 
18,817

Other (1)
196

 
203

 
210

Total International
$
35,418

 
$
33,510

 
$
29,934

Year-over-year Percentage Growth:
 
 
 
 
 
North America
 
 
 
 
 
Media
8
 %
 
7
 %
 
18
%
Electronics and other general merchandise
31

 
28

 
29

Other
10

 
22

 
20

Total North America
25

 
23

 
26

International
 
 
 
 
 
Media
(8
)%
 
 %
 
1
%
Electronics and other general merchandise
13

 
19

 
23

Other
(3
)
 
(3
)
 
22

Total International
6

 
12

 
14

Year-over-year Percentage Growth, excluding the effect of foreign exchange rates:
 
 
 
 
 
North America
 
 
 
 
 
Media
8
 %
 
7
 %
 
18
%
Electronics and other general merchandise
31

 
29

 
29

Other
10

 
22

 
20

Total North America
26

 
23

 
26

International
 
 
 
 
 
Media
4
 %
 
2
 %
 
7
%
Electronics and other general merchandise
29

 
21

 
27

Other
10

 
(3
)
 
26

Total International
21

 
14

 
19

_____________________________
(1)
Includes sales from non-retail activities, such as certain advertising services and our co-branded credit card agreements.


27


Operating Expenses
Information about operating expenses with and without stock-based compensation is as follows (in millions):
 
 
Year Ended December 31, 2015
 
Year Ended December 31, 2014
 
Year Ended December 31, 2013
  
As
Reported
 
Stock-Based
Compensation
 
Net
 
As
Reported
 
Stock-Based
Compensation
 
Net
 
As
Reported
 
Stock-Based
Compensation
 
Net
Operating Expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cost of sales
$
71,651

 
$

 
$
71,651

 
$
62,752

 
$

 
$
62,752

 
$
54,181

 
$

 
$
54,181

Fulfillment
13,410

 
(482
)
 
12,928

 
10,766

 
(375
)
 
10,391

 
8,585

 
(294
)
 
8,291

Marketing
5,254

 
(190
)
 
5,064

 
4,332

 
(125
)
 
4,207

 
3,133

 
(88
)
 
3,045

Technology and content
12,540

 
(1,224
)
 
11,316

 
9,275

 
(804
)
 
8,471

 
6,565

 
(603
)
 
5,962

General and administrative
1,747

 
(223
)
 
1,524

 
1,552

 
(193
)
 
1,359

 
1,129

 
(149
)
 
980

Other operating expense (income), net
171

 

 
171

 
133

 

 
133

 
114

 

 
114

Total operating expenses
$
104,773

 
$
(2,119
)
 
$
102,654

 
$
88,810

 
$
(1,497
)
 
$
87,313

 
$
73,707

 
$
(1,134
)
 
$
72,573

Year-over-year Percentage Growth:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fulfillment
25
%
 
 
 
24
%
 
25
%
 
 
 
25
%
 
34
%
 
 
 
34
%
Marketing
21

 
 
 
20

 
38

 
 
 
38

 
30

 
 
 
30

Technology and content
35

 
 
 
34

 
41

 
 
 
42

 
44

 
 
 
44

General and administrative
13

 
 
 
12

 
37

 
 
 
39

 
26

 
 
 
27

Percent of Net Sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fulfillment
12.5
%
 
 
 
12.1
%
 
12.1
%
 
 
 
11.7
%
 
11.5
%
 
 
 
11.1
%
Marketing
4.9

 
 
 
4.7

 
4.9

 
 
 
4.7

 
4.2

 
 
 
4.1

Technology and content
11.7

 
 
 
10.6

 
10.4

 
 
 
9.5

 
8.8

 
 
 
8.0

General and administrative
1.6

 
 
 
1.4

 
1.7

 
 
 
1.5

 
1.5

 
 
 
1.3

Operating expenses without stock-based compensation are non-GAAP financial measures. See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” and Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 1—Description of Business and Accounting Policies—Stock-Based Compensation.”
In 2014, we recorded charges estimated at $170 million primarily related to Fire phone inventory valuation and supplier commitment costs, the majority of which was included in the North America segment.
Cost of Sales
Cost of sales primarily consists of the purchase price of consumer products, digital media content costs where we record revenue gross, including Prime Video and Prime Music, packaging supplies, sortation and delivery centers and related equipment costs, and inbound and outbound shipping costs, including where we are the transportation service provider. Shipping costs to receive products from our suppliers are included in our inventory and recognized as cost of sales upon sale of products to our customers.
The increase in cost of sales in absolute dollars in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods, is primarily due to increased product and shipping costs resulting from increased sales. The increase in 2014 was also impacted by the expansion of digital offerings and Fire phone inventory valuation and supplier commitment costs.
Costs to operate our AWS segment are primarily classified as “Technology and content” as we leverage a shared infrastructure that supports both our internal technology requirements and external sales to AWS customers.
Fulfillment
Fulfillment costs primarily consist of those costs incurred in operating and staffing our North America and International fulfillment and customer service centers and payment processing costs. While AWS payment processing and related transaction costs are included in fulfillment, AWS costs are primarily classified as “Technology and content.” Fulfillment costs as a percentage of net sales may vary due to several factors, such as payment processing and related transaction costs, our level of productivity and accuracy, changes in volume, size, and weight of units received and fulfilled, timing of fulfillment capacity expansion, the extent we utilize fulfillment services provided by third parties, mix of products and services sold, and our ability to affect customer service contacts per unit by implementing improvements in our operations and enhancements to our customer self-service features. Additionally, because payment processing and fulfillment costs associated with seller transactions are based on the gross purchase price of underlying transactions, and payment processing and related transaction

28


and fulfillment costs are higher as a percentage of sales versus our retail sales, sales by our sellers have higher fulfillment costs as a percent of net sales.
The increase in fulfillment costs in absolute dollars in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods, is primarily due to variable costs corresponding with increased physical and digital product and service sales volume, inventory levels, and sales mix; costs from expanding fulfillment capacity; and payment processing and related transaction costs.
We seek to expand our fulfillment capacity to accommodate a greater selection and in-stock inventory levels and to meet anticipated shipment volumes from sales of our own products as well as sales by third parties for which we provide the fulfillment services. We regularly evaluate our facility requirements.
Marketing
We direct customers to our websites primarily through a number of targeted online marketing channels, such as our Associates program, sponsored search, portal advertising, email marketing campaigns, direct sales, and other initiatives. Our marketing expenses are largely variable, based on growth in sales and changes in rates. To the extent there is increased or decreased competition for these traffic sources, or to the extent our mix of these channels shifts, we would expect to see a corresponding change in our marketing expense.
The increase in marketing costs in absolute dollars in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods, is primarily due to increased spending on online marketing channels, as well as payroll and related expenses.
While costs associated with Amazon Prime memberships and other shipping offers are not included in marketing expense, we view these offers as effective worldwide marketing tools, and intend to continue offering them indefinitely.
Technology and Content
Technology costs consist principally of research and development activities including payroll and related expenses for employees involved in application, production, maintenance, operation, and platform development for new and existing products and services, as well as AWS and other technology infrastructure expenses. Content costs consist principally of payroll and related expenses for employees involved in category expansion, editorial content, buying, and merchandising selection. Digital media content costs related to revenue recorded gross, including Prime Video, are included in cost of sales.
We seek to invest efficiently in several areas of technology and content so we may continue to enhance the customer experience and improve our process efficiency through rapid technology developments while operating at an ever increasing scale. Our technology and content investment and capital spending projects often support a variety of product and service offerings due to geographic expansion and the cross-functionality of our systems and operations. We expect spending in technology and content to increase over time as we continue to add employees and technology infrastructure. The increase in technology and content costs in absolute dollars in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to comparable prior year periods, is primarily due to increased spending on technology infrastructure principally allocated to our AWS segment, and an increase in payroll and related costs associated with expanding our products and services.
Technology infrastructure costs consist of servers, networking equipment, and data center related depreciation, rent, utilities, and payroll expenses. These costs are allocated to segments based on usage. In 2015, 2014, and 2013, we expanded our technology infrastructure principally by increasing our capacity for AWS service offerings globally, compared to the comparable prior year periods. Additionally, the costs associated with operating and maintaining our expanded infrastructure have increased over time, corresponding with increased usage. We expect these trends to continue over time as we invest in technology infrastructure to support increased usage.
The increase in payroll and related costs is primarily due to the expansion of new and existing product categories and service offerings, including AWS, and initiatives to expand our ecosystem of products and services.
For 2015, 2014, and 2013, we capitalized $642 million (including $114 million of stock-based compensation), $641 million (including $104 million of stock-based compensation), and $581 million (including $87 million of stock-based compensation) of costs associated with internal-use software and website development. Amortization of previously capitalized amounts was $635 million, $559 million, and $451 million for 2015, 2014, and 2013.
General and Administrative
The increase in general and administrative costs in absolute dollars in 2015, compared to the comparable prior year period, is primarily due to increases in payroll and related expenses. The increase in general and administrative costs in absolute dollars in 2014, compared to the comparable prior year period, is primarily due to increases in payroll and related expenses and professional service fees.

29


Stock-Based Compensation
Stock-based compensation was $2.1 billion, $1.5 billion, and $1.1 billion during 2015, 2014, and 2013. The increase in 2015, 2014, and 2013, compared to the comparable prior year periods, is primarily due to an increase in the number of stock-based compensation awards granted to existing and new employees.
Other Operating Expense (Income), Net
Other operating expense (income), net was $171 million, $133 million, and $114 million during 2015, 2014, and 2013, and was primarily related to the amortization of intangible assets.
Income from Operations
For the reasons discussed above, income from operations increased to $2.2 billion in 2015, from $178 million in 2014 and $745 million in 2013.
We believe that income from operations is a more meaningful measure than gross profit and gross margin due to the diversity of our product categories and services.
Interest Income and Expense
Our interest income was $50 million, $39 million, and $38 million during 2015, 2014, and 2013. We generally invest our excess cash in investment grade short- to intermediate-term fixed income securities and AAA-rated money market funds. Our interest income corresponds with the average balance of invested funds based on the prevailing rates, which vary depending on the geographies and currencies in which they are invested.
Interest expense was $459 million, $210 million, and $141 million in 2015, 2014, and 2013. The increase is primarily due to increases in our long-term debt, and capital and finance lease arrangements.
Our long-term debt was $8.2 billion and $8.3 billion as of December 31, 2015 and 2014. Our other long-term liabilities were $9.9 billion and $7.4 billion as of December 31, 2015 and 2014. See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 5—Long-Term Debt and Note 6—Other Long-Term Liabilities” for additional information.
Other Income (Expense), Net
Other income (expense), net was $(256) million, $(118) million, and $(136) million during 2015, 2014, and 2013. The primary component of other income (expense), net is related to foreign-currency gains (losses).
Income Taxes
Our effective tax rate is subject to significant variation due to several factors, including variability in our pre-tax and taxable income and loss and the mix of jurisdictions to which they relate, changes in how we do business, acquisitions (including integrations) and investments, audit-related developments, foreign currency gains (losses), changes in law, regulations, and administrative practices, and relative changes of expenses or losses for which tax benefits are not recognized. Additionally, our effective tax rate can be more or less volatile based on the amount of pre-tax income or loss. For example, the impact of discrete items and non-deductible expenses on our effective tax rate is greater when our pre-tax income is lower.
We recorded a provision for income taxes of $950 million, $167 million, and $161 million in 2015, 2014, and 2013. Our provision for income taxes in 2015 was higher than in 2014 primarily due to an increase in U.S. pre-tax income and increased losses in certain foreign subsidiaries for which we may not realize a tax benefit. Losses for which we may not realize a related tax benefit, primarily due to losses of foreign subsidiaries, reduce our pre-tax income without a corresponding reduction in our tax expense, and therefore increase our effective tax rate. We have recorded valuation allowances against the deferred tax assets associated with losses for which we may not realize a related tax benefit. We generated income in lower tax jurisdictions primarily related to our European operations, which are headquartered in Luxembourg.
Our provision for income taxes in 2014 was higher than in 2013 primarily due to the increased losses in certain foreign subsidiaries for which we may not realize a tax benefit and audit-related developments, partially offset by the favorable impact of earnings in lower tax rate jurisdictions. Losses for which we may not realize a related tax benefit were primarily generated by our foreign subsidiaries. Income earned in lower tax jurisdictions was primarily related to our European operations.
We have tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions and accelerated depreciation deductions that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income. In December 2015, U.S. legislation was enacted that extended accelerated depreciation deductions on qualifying property through 2019 and made permanent the U.S. federal research and development credit. As of December 31, 2015, our federal net operating loss carryforward was approximately $1.1 billion and we had

30


approximately $622 million of federal tax credits potentially available to offset future tax liabilities. Our federal tax credits are primarily related to the U.S. federal research and development credit, which was made permanent in 2015.
See Item 8 of Part II, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 10—Income Taxes” for additional information.
Equity-Method Investment Activity, Net of Tax
Equity-method investment activity, net of tax, was $(22) million, $37 million, and $(71) million in 2015, 2014, and 2013, and is primarily related to our investment in LivingSocial. The primary component of this activity during 2014 was our share of a gain recorded by LivingSocial related to the sale of its Korean operations. This gain was partially offset by operating losses incurred by LivingSocial during the period.
Effect of Foreign Exchange Rates
The effect on our income from operations from changes in foreign exchange rates versus the U.S. Dollar is as follows (in millions):
 
Year Ended December 31, 2015
 
Year Ended December 31, 2014
 
Year Ended December 31, 2013
  
At Prior
Year
Rates (1)
 
Exchange
Rate
Effect (2)
 
As
Reported
 
At Prior
Year
Rates (1)
 
Exchange
Rate
Effect (2)
 
As
Reported
 
At Prior
Year
Rates (1)
 
Exchange
Rate
Effect (2)
 
As
Reported
Net sales
$
112,173

 
$
(5,167
)
 
$
107,006

 
$
89,624

 
$
(636
)
 
$
88,988

 
$
75,736

 
$
(1,284
)
 
$
74,452

Operating expenses
109,956

 
(5,183
)
 
104,773

 
89,466

 
(656
)
 
88,810

 
74,962

 
(1,255
)
 
73,707

Income from operations
2,217

 
16

 
2,233

 
158

 
20

 
178

 
774

 
(29
)
 
745

___________________
(1)
Represents the outcome that would have resulted had foreign exchange rates in the reported period been the same as those in effect in the comparable prior year period for operating results.
(2)
Represents the increase or decrease in reported amounts resulting from changes in foreign exchange rates from those in effect in the comparable prior year period for operating results.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Regulation G, Conditions for Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, and other SEC regulations define and prescribe the conditions for use of certain non-GAAP financial information. Our measures of free cash flows, operating expenses with and without stock-based compensation, and the effect of foreign exchange rates on our consolidated statements of operations, meet the definition of non-GAAP financial measures.
We provide multiple measures of free cash flows because we believe these measures provide additional perspective on the impact of acquiring property and equipment with cash and through capital and finance leases.
Free Cash Flow
Free cash flow is cash flow from operations reduced by “Purchases of property and equipment, including internal-use software and website development, net” which is included in cash flow from investing activities. The following is a reconciliation of free cash flow to the most comparable GAAP cash flow measure, “Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities,” for 2015, 2014, and 2013 (in millions):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
$
11,920

 
$
6,842

 
$
5,475

Purchases of property and equipment, including internal-use software and website development, net
(4,589
)
 
(4,893
)
 
(3,444
)
Free cash flow
$
7,331

 
$
1,949

 
$
2,031

 
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities
$
(6,450
)
 
$
(5,065
)
 
$
(4,276
)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities
$
(3,763
)
 
$
4,432

 
$
(539
)

31


Free Cash Flow Less Lease Principal Repayments
Free cash flow less lease principal repayments is free cash flow reduced by “Principal repayments of capital lease obligations,” and “Principal repayments of finance lease obligations,” which are included in cash flow from financing activities. Free cash flow less lease principal repayments approximates the actual payments of cash for our capital and finance leases. The following is a reconciliation of free cash flow less lease principal repayments to the most comparable GAAP cash flow measure, “Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities,” for 2015, 2014, and 2013 (in millions):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
$
11,920

 
$
6,842

 
$
5,475

Purchases of property and equipment, including internal-use software and website development, net
(4,589
)
 
(4,893
)
 
(3,444
)
Principal repayments of capital lease obligations
(2,462
)
 
(1,285
)
 
(775
)
Principal repayments of finance lease obligations
(121
)
 
(135
)
 
(5
)
Free cash flow less lease principal repayments
$
4,748

 
$
529

 
$
1,251

 
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities
$
(6,450
)
 
$
(5,065
)
 
$
(4,276
)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities
$
(3,763
)
 
$
4,432

 
$
(539
)
Free Cash Flow Less Finance Lease Principal Repayments and Assets Acquired Under Capital Leases
Free cash flow less finance lease principal repayments and assets acquired under capital leases is free cash flow reduced by “Principal repayments of finance lease obligations,” which are included in cash flow from financing activities, and property and equipment acquired under capital leases. In this measure, property and equipment acquired under capital leases is reflected as if these assets had been purchased with cash, which is not the case as these assets have been leased. The following is a reconciliation of free cash flow less finance lease principal repayments and assets acquired under capital leases to the most comparable GAAP cash flow measure, “Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities,” for 2015, 2014, and 2013 (in millions):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
$
11,920

 
$
6,842

 
$
5,475

Purchases of property and equipment, including internal-use software and website development, net
(4,589
)
 
(4,893
)
 
(3,444
)
Property and equipment acquired under capital leases
(4,717
)
 
(4,008
)
 
(1,867
)
Principal repayments of finance lease obligations
(121
)
 
(135
)
 
(5
)
Free cash flow less finance lease principal repayments and assets acquired under capital leases
$
2,493

 
$
(2,194
)
 
$
159

 
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities
$
(6,450
)
 
$
(5,065
)
 
$
(4,276
)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities
$
(3,763
)
 
$
4,432

 
$
(539
)
All of these free cash flows measures have limitations as they omit certain components of the overall cash flow statement and do not represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures. For example, these measures of free cash flows do not incorporate the portion of payments representing principal reductions of debt or cash payments for business acquisitions. Additionally, our mix of property and equipment acquisitions with cash or other financing options may change over time. Therefore, we believe it is important to view free cash flows measures only as a complement to our entire consolidated statements of cash flows.
Operating Expenses, Excluding Stock-Based Compensation
Operating expenses with and without stock-based compensation is provided to show the impact of stock-based compensation, which is non-cash and excluded from our internal operating plans and measurement of financial performance (although we consider the dilutive impact to our shareholders when awarding stock-based compensation and value such awards accordingly). In addition, unlike other centrally-incurred operating costs, stock-based compensation is not allocated to segment

32


results, and therefore, excluding it from operating expenses is consistent with our segment presentation in our footnotes to the consolidated financial statements.
Operating expenses without stock-based compensation has limitations since it does not include all expenses primarily related to our workforce. More specifically, if we did not pay out a portion of our compensation in the form of stock-based compensation, our cash salary expense included in the “Fulfillment,” “Marketing,” “Technology and content,” and “General and administrative” line items would be higher.
Effect of Foreign Exchange Rates
Information regarding the effect of foreign exchange rates, versus the U.S. Dollar, on our consolidated statements of operations is provided to show reported period operating results had the foreign exchange rates remained the same as those in effect in the comparable prior year period.
Guidance
We provided guidance on January 28, 2016, in our earnings release furnished on Form 8-K as set forth below. These forward-looking statements reflect Amazon.com’s expectations as of January 28, 2016, and are subject to substantial uncertainty. Our results are inherently unpredictable and may be materially affected by many factors, such as fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and customer spending, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet and online commerce, as well as those outlined in Item 1A of Part I, “Risk Factors.”
First Quarter 2016 Guidance
Net sales are expected to be between $26.5 billion and $29.0 billion, or to grow between 17% and 28% compared with first quarter 2015.
Operating income is expected to be between $100 million and $700 million, compared with $255 million in first quarter 2015.
This guidance includes approximately $600 million for stock-based compensation and other operating expense (income), net. It assumes, among other things, that no additional business acquisitions, investments, restructurings, or legal settlements are concluded and that there are no further revisions to stock-based compensation estimates.

33


Item 7A.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
We are exposed to market risk for the effect of interest rate changes, foreign currency fluctuations, and changes in the market values of our investments. Information relating to quantitative and qualitative disclosures about market risk is set forth below and in Item 7 of Part II, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
Interest Rate Risk
Our exposure to market risk for changes in interest rates relates primarily to our investment portfolio and our long-term debt. Our long-term debt is carried at amortized cost and fluctuations in interest rates do not impact our consolidated financial statements. However, the fair value of our debt, which pays interest at a fixed rate, will generally fluctuate with movements of interest rates, increasing in periods of declining rates of interest and declining in periods of increasing rates of interest. All of our cash equivalent and marketable fixed income securities are designated as available-for-sale and, accordingly, are presented at fair value on our consolidated balance sheets. We generally invest our excess cash in investment grade short- to intermediate-term fixed income securities and AAA-rated money market funds. Fixed income securities may have their fair market value adversely affected due to a rise in interest rates, and we may suffer losses in principal if forced to sell securities that have declined in market value due to changes in interest rates.
The following table provides information about our current and long-term cash equivalents and marketable fixed income securities, including principal cash flows by expected maturity and the related weighted-average interest rates as of December 31, 2015 (in millions, except percentages):
 
 
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
 
2019
 
2020
 
Thereafter
 
Total
 
Estimated Fair Value as of December 31, 2015
Money market funds
 
$
8,025

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
8,025

 
$
8,025

Weighted-average interest rate
 
0.21
 %
 
 %
 
 %
 
%
 
%
 
%
 
0.21
 %
 
 
Corporate debt securities
 
131

 
172

 
141

 
14

 
11

 

 
469

 
477

Weighted-average interest rate
 
1.52
 %
 
1.85
 %
 
1.84
 %
 
0.57
%
 
0.74
%
 
%
 
1.69
 %
 
 
U.S. government and agency securities
 
4,487

 
484

 
147

 
31

 
6

 

 
5,155

 
5,167

Weighted-average interest rate
 
0.37
 %
 
1.26
 %
 
1.41
 %
 
1.52
%
 
2.23
%
 
%
 
0.50
 %
 
 
Asset backed securities
 
65

 
39

 
8

 
4

 

 

 
116

 
117

Weighted-average interest rate
 
1.85
 %
 
1.87
 %
 
1.80
 %
 
1.83
%
 
%
 
%
 
1.85
 %
 
 
Foreign government and agency securities
 
1

 
24

 
16

 
1

 
6

 

 
48

 
49

Weighted-average interest rate
 
(0.03
)%
 
(0.10
)%
 
(0.04
)%
 
0.01
%
 
0.04
%
 
%
 
(0.06
)%
 
 
Other securities
 
15

 
18

 
5

 
3

 

 

 
41

 
42

Weighted-average interest rate
 
0.64
 %
 
1.33
 %
 
1.17
 %
 
2.23
%
 
%
 
%
 
1.12
 %
 
 
 
 
$
12,724

 
$
737

 
$
317

 
$
53

 
$
23

 
$

 
$
13,854

 
 
Cash equivalent and marketable fixed income securities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
13,877

As of December 31, 2015, we had $8.5 billion of debt, including the current portion, primarily consisting of the following fixed rate unsecured debt (in millions):
1.20% Notes due on November 29, 2017
$
1,000

2.50% Notes due on November 29, 2022
$
1,250

2.60% Notes due on December 5, 2019
$
1,000

3.30% Notes due on December 5, 2021
$
1,000

3.80% Notes due on December 5, 2024
$
1,250

4.80% Notes due on December 5, 2034
$
1,250

4.95% Notes due on December 5, 2044
$
1,500


34


The fair value of our debt will fluctuate with movements of interest rates, increasing in periods of declining rates of interest and declining in periods of increasing rates of interest. Based upon quoted market prices and Level 2 inputs, the fair value of our total debt was $8.8 billion as of December 31, 2015.
Foreign Exchange Risk
During 2015, net sales from our International segment accounted for 33% of our consolidated revenues. Net sales and related expenses generated from our internationally-focused websites, and from www.amazon.ca and www.amazon.com.mx (which are included in our North America segment), are primarily denominated in the functional currencies of the corresponding websites and primarily include Euros, Japanese Yen, and British Pounds. The results of operations of, and certain of our intercompany balances associated with, our internationally-focused websites and AWS are exposed to foreign exchange rate fluctuations. Upon consolidation, as foreign exchange rates vary, net sales and other operating results may differ materially from expectations, and we may record significant gains or losses on the remeasurement of intercompany balances. For example, as a result of fluctuations in foreign exchange rates during 2015, International segment revenues decreased by $5.0 billion in comparison with the prior year.
We have foreign exchange risk related to foreign-denominated cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities (“foreign funds”). Based on the balance of foreign funds as of December 31, 2015, of $7.3 billion, an assumed 5%, 10%, and 20% adverse change to foreign exchange would result in fair value declines of $365 million, $730 million, and $1.5 billion. All investments are classified as “available-for-sale.” Fluctuations in fair value are recorded in “Accumulated other comprehensive loss,” a separate component of stockholders’ equity.
We have foreign exchange risk related to our intercompany balances denominated in various foreign currencies. Based on the intercompany balances as of December 31, 2015, an assumed 5%, 10%, and 20% adverse change to foreign exchange would result in losses of $190 million, $405 million, and $905 million, recorded to “Other income (expense), net.”
See Item 7 of Part II, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations—Effect of Foreign Exchange Rates” for additional information on the effect on reported results of changes in foreign exchange rates.
Investment Risk
As of December 31, 2015, our recorded basis in equity investments was $280 million. These investments primarily relate to equity-method and cost-method investments in private companies. We review our investments for impairment when events and circumstances indicate that the decline in fair value of such assets below the carrying value is other-than-temporary. Our analysis includes a review of recent operating results and trends, recent sales/acquisitions of the investee securities, and other publicly available data. The current global economic climate provides additional uncertainty. Valuations of private companies are inherently more complex due to the lack of readily available market data. As such, we believe that market sensitivities are not practicable.

35


Item 8.
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 

36


Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
The Board of Directors and Shareholders
Amazon.com, Inc.
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Amazon.com, Inc. as of December 31, 2015 and 2014, and the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income (loss), stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2015. These financial statements are the responsibility of the company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audits.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of Amazon.com, Inc. at December 31, 2015 and 2014, and the consolidated results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2015, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), Amazon.com, Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015, based on criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) and our report dated January 28, 2016 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.
/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
Seattle, Washington
January 28, 2016


37


AMAZON.COM, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(in millions)
  
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, BEGINNING OF PERIOD
$
14,557

 
$
8,658

 
$
8,084

OPERATING ACTIVITIES:
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss)
596

 
(241
)
 
274

Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash from operating activities:
 
 
 
 
 
Depreciation of property and equipment, including internal-use software and website development, and other amortization, including capitalized content costs
6,281

 
4,746

 
3,253

Stock-based compensation
2,119

 
1,497

 
1,134

Other operating expense (income), net
155

 
129

 
114

Losses (gains) on sales of marketable securities, net
5

 
(3
)
 
1

Other expense (income), net
245

 
62

 
166

Deferred income taxes
81

 
(316
)
 
(156
)
Excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation
(119
)
 
(6
)
 
(78
)
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:
 
 
 
 
 
Inventories
(2,187
)
 
(1,193
)
 
(1,410
)
Accounts receivable, net and other
(1,755
)
 
(1,039
)
 
(846
)
Accounts payable
4,294

 
1,759

 
1,888

Accrued expenses and other
913

 
706

 
736

Additions to unearned revenue
7,401

 
4,433

 
2,691

Amortization of previously unearned revenue
(6,109
)
 
(3,692
)
 
(2,292
)
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
11,920

 
6,842

 
5,475

INVESTING ACTIVITIES:
 
 
 
 
 
Purchases of property and equipment, including internal-use software and website development, net
(4,589
)
 
(4,893
)
 
(3,444
)
Acquisitions, net of cash acquired, and other
(795
)
 
(979
)
 
(312
)
Sales and maturities of marketable securities
3,025

 
3,349

 
2,306

Purchases of marketable securities
(4,091
)
 
(2,542
)
 
(2,826
)
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities
(6,450
)
 
(5,065
)
 
(4,276
)
FINANCING ACTIVITIES:
 
 
 
 
 
Excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation
119

 
6

 
78

Proceeds from long-term debt and other
353

 
6,359

 
394

Repayments of long-term debt and other
(1,652
)
 
(513
)
 
(231
)
Principal repayments of capital lease obligations
(2,462
)
 
(1,285
)
 
(775
)
Principal repayments of finance lease obligations
(121
)
 
(135
)
 
(5
)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities
(3,763
)
 
4,432

 
(539
)
Foreign-currency effect on cash and cash equivalents
(374
)
 
(310
)
 
(86
)
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
1,333

 
5,899

 
574

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, END OF PERIOD
$
15,890

 
$
14,557

 
$
8,658

SUPPLEMENTAL CASH FLOW INFORMATION:
 
 
 
 
 
Cash paid for interest on long-term debt
$
325

 
$
91

 
$
97

Cash paid for interest on capital and finance lease obligations
153

 
86

 
41

Cash paid for income taxes (net of refunds)
273

 
177

 
169

Property and equipment acquired under capital leases
4,717

 
4,008

 
1,867

Property and equipment acquired under build-to-suit leases
544

 
920

 
877

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.

38


AMAZON.COM, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(in millions, except per share data)
 
  
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Net product sales
$
79,268

 
$
70,080

 
$
60,903

Net service sales
27,738

 
18,908

 
13,549

Total net sales
107,006

 
88,988

 
74,452

Operating expenses (1):
 
 
 
 
 
Cost of sales
71,651

 
62,752

 
54,181

Fulfillment
13,410

 
10,766

 
8,585

Marketing
5,254

 
4,332

 
3,133

Technology and content
12,540

 
9,275

 
6,565

General and administrative
1,747

 
1,552

 
1,129

Other operating expense (income), net
171

 
133

 
114

Total operating expenses
104,773

 
88,810

 
73,707

Income from operations
2,233

 
178

 
745

Interest income
50

 
39

 
38

Interest expense
(459
)
 
(210
)
 
(141
)
Other income (expense), net
(256
)
 
(118
)
 
(136
)
Total non-operating income (expense)
(665
)
 
(289
)
 
(239
)
Income (loss) before income taxes
1,568

 
(111
)
 
506

Provision for income taxes
(950
)
 
(167
)
 
(161
)
Equity-method investment activity, net of tax
(22
)
 
37

 
(71
)
Net income (loss)
$
596

 
$
(241
)
 
$
274

Basic earnings per share
$
1.28

 
$
(0.52
)
 
$
0.60

Diluted earnings per share
$
1.25