Is a good business?

Our OneNote on iPhone software is doing very well for its first day of sales and it got me thinking about who else is doing very well. Everyone knows this company. I personally have been buying from Amazon and I really admire it, just like millions of people out there. It must be a good business. They are the biggest online retailer, the 900-pound gorilla. So I took a look at their annual reports. They are available from their site, go to the bottom link “Investor Relations”. It’s not very easy to find the most important figures, but it’s not very hard either.  I won’t tease you, here is the table of their annual profits (or should I say losses) for the years I was able to find: 

1996 -6
1997 -28
1998 -125
1999 -720
2000 -1411
2001 -567
2002 -149
2003 35
2004 588
2005 359
2006 190
2007 476
2008 645

Total: -$713,000,000.

As you can see, the great company had a glorious result for last 13 years. It has spent much more money than it earned. I won’t even go into stock prices and P/Es.  Is a good business? I don’t think so.



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