|AMAZON COM INC filed this Form 10-K on 01/30/2013|
development. We use free cash flow, and ratios based on it, to conduct and evaluate our business because, although it is similar to cash flow from operations, we believe it typically will present a more conservative measure of cash flows since purchases of property and equipment are a necessary component of ongoing operations.
Free cash flow has limitations due to the fact that it does not represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures. For example, free cash flow does not incorporate the portion of payments representing principal reductions of debt, obligations related to capital leases and leases accounted for as financing arrangements, or cash payments for business acquisitions. Therefore, we believe it is important to view free cash flow as a complement to our entire consolidated statements of cash flows.
The following is a reconciliation of free cash flow to the most comparable GAAP measure, Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities for 2012, 2011, and 2010 (in millions):
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 results and therefore excluding it from operating expense 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, Technology and content, Marketing, and General and administrative line items would be higher.
Information regarding the effect of exchange rates, versus the U.S. Dollar, on our consolidated statements of operations is provided to show reported period operating results had the exchange rates remained the same as those in effect in the comparable prior year period.
We provided guidance on January 29, 2013 in our earnings release furnished on Form 8-K as set forth below. These forward-looking statements reflect Amazon.coms expectations as of January 29, 2013, 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 consumer 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 2013 Guidance