This chart, rather neatly, encapsulates both the bull and the bear cases for Amazon. On one hand, the revenue growth is dramatic. Amazon is taking an ever larger share of US retail revenue - but is still only about 2% of US non-food retail revenue. Yet... where are the profits?
There's always been a suspicion that Amazon is managing earnings to zero - deliberately hitting zero at the bottom line both to drive share and to conceal the operating dynamics of the business. But on the other hand, this might just be the world's biggest lifestyle business, run for the entertainment of Jeff Bezos rather than the enrichment of shareholders. And of course, what sort of profits should a volume retailer ever expect to achieve, realistically? Walmart gets 3-4% at best.
To put this another way, Amazon appears to treat FCF the way Apple treats inventory: as something evil to optimise down.