Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has become a technology and retail giant that's so big and successful that its biggest risk might be federal intervention. CEO Jeff Bezos was one of a handful of technology leaders who testified before Congress in late July about antitrust concerns and other issues.
The reality is that Congress will almost certainly take no action against the online retail leader. It's hard to argue that it's a monopoly when it competes with Walmart, Target, and many others on the retail side, and faces off with tech giants like Microsoft in the cloud portion of its business.
Amazon has built an impressive business that's resistant (if not immune) to the competition. It sets a standard that others have to spend billions to follow. And by the time they do, the industry leader has already moved on to its next innovation.
Where does Amazon stand?
Amazon had a stunningly good quarter. It delivered $88.9 billion in second-quarter revenue, up a shocking 40% year over year. It also doubled its profit over the previous year to $5.2 billion despite the fact that it spent $4 billion managing the coronavirus pandemic during the quarter.
That's spectacular, but it's not why you should buy Amazon stock. This is a business that has always been willing to sacrifice a quarter or even multiple quarters for longer-term goals.
You can't judge this company based on a single quarter or even a few. That's especially true given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon has pledged to use its profits to keep workers safe and serve customers during these unique times.
That's something Amazon can do because it has never focused on today. Bezos has always kept his eyes on the long term, allowing the company to invest heavily in infrastructure.
While other retailers aim to hit quarterly goals, Amazon plans years ahead. That has allowed it to be a leader in delivery, first pioneering two-day delivery and then moving to one-day and now leading the way with same-day delivery.
Amazon is a buy
There are very few companies as solid as Amazon. It offers both stability and growth. Its engaged and loyal customer base pays for its Amazon Prime service, and tens of millions of people use its Alexa-based devices.
As a retailer, Amazon is best in class, and the pandemic has made it stronger. But the company isn't just a retailer. It also has its massive Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud business, which is high-margin and fast-growing.
In addition to those industry-leading businesses, Amazon also has a huge opportunity in grocery, where it owns Whole Foods and a just-launched traditional grocery chain powered by the company's Go checkout technology. It also owns brick-and-mortar bookstores, convenience stores (also using the Go checkout tech), and a number of other retail concepts.
Amazon may have some off quarters where it pours its profits into building out its infrastructure. That's actually really good news for investors. This is a company that has its eye on long-term goals, not short-term profits. As a buy-and-hold investor, that's exactly how you want a company to operate. And it should benefit the stock for years, if not decades, to come.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel B. Kline owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Microsoft and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft, short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft, short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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