Amazon Prime Membership Is 100 Million Strong, Beating Analyst Estimates

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos the world’s richest person reported total compensation of $1.68 million last year

Amazon.com shares gained as much 2.7% intraday April 19, putting the online retailer within 3% of its March 12 record-high after founder and CEO Jeff Bezos drafted a letter to shareholders touting the company surpassing more than 100 million users with paid Prime memberships.

Bezos also confirmed Wednesday that Amazon expects Prime to soon be a factor in its Whole Foods grocery stores, after the e-commerce company acquired the brick-and-mortar chain for $13.7 billion past year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-to-buy-whole-foods-for-137-billion-2017-06-16-91035726).

Amazon has kept its Prime subscriber number a closely held secret, forcing analysts to estimate the figure based on shopper surveys.

He also said that Amazon Music, the company's streaming service which competes with Spotify and Apple Music, now has "tens of millions" of paying customers, and more than double the number just six months ago.

Prime subscribers pay monthly or annual fees in exchange for quick delivery of online orders, music and video streaming and free online photo storage. The above figure applies to its worldwide operations with the company claiming its recent expansion in Luxembourg, Mexico, Singapore and the Netherlands proved to be extremely lucrative.

Bezos noted the milestone in his annual shareholder letter, published Wednesday.

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It condemns "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of global law and the UN Charter".

"In every country and every sector where we employee people, we offer highly competitive wage and benefits such as company stock, health insurance and retirement savings, innovative parental leave, and training for in-demand jobs through our Career Choice program", the company said. The updated number highlights the growth of the company's subscription service, which Amazon has pushed heavily over the years as a way to retain customers that in turn fuel its core retail business with each purchase.

To achieve this, Bezos lays out his "four elements of high standards". The opposite is also true. The program's ability to hear when the user is far away from the microphone (called far-field speech recognition) has improved 15 per cent over the a year ago.

"2017 was our best year yet for hardware sales", Bezos wrote.

While it has been the topic of a debate and wild speculation, all of that has been put to rest with Amazon finally coming clean on the size of its Prime member base.

On the Alexa front, Bezos reports that Amazon's voice-recognition AI is becoming a better listener.

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