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Google, Amazon and Microsoft report rising profits

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Profits surged at four US tech giants in the first three months of the year.

Profits at Google parent Alphabet increased 28% year-on-year to to $5.4bn (£4.2bn), boosted by advertising on mobile phones and the popular YouTube video service.

Amazon profits climbed more than 40%, to $724m (£560.8m). It was its eighth quarter in a row of profit.

Microsoft also had a strong quarter, with profits up nearly 28%, while chipmaker Intel’s profits rose 45%.

Amazon said its growth was propelled by sales for web services and retail subscriptions, such as Amazon Prime.

The firm highlighted its international activity, noting expansion in India, Mexico and the UK. But executives told investors that more spending on content, products and warehouses for distribution lies ahead.

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“Although Amazon’s sales advanced by a respectable 23% over the quarter, the pace of growth at the online behemoth remains much slower than it was over most of the prior fiscal year,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.

“Some of this is the result of a less favourable exchange rate diluting contributions from the international business. However, some is also down to a more challenging demand environment in North America, which has limited spending uplifts on products within Amazon’s core territory.”

Cloud computing

Microsoft was lifted by its cloud computing products, such as Azure, which were $4.8bn, up 28% compared with the previous year.

“Our results this quarter reflect the trust customers are placing in the Microsoft Cloud,” said Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella.

“From large multinationals to small and medium businesses to non-profits all over the world, organisations are using Microsoft’s cloud platforms to power their digital transformation.”

Microsoft also received a boost from social network LinkedIn, which it bought for $26bn in June last year.

It contributed $975m in revenue in the quarter, $25m more than analysts had predicted.

Chipmaker Intel’s profits rose 45% to $2.9bn, with revenue up 8%. The growth was driven by its memory division, which recently launched a new technology, with revenue up 55%.

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