Today, I'm excited to share that, for the first time, the same machine learning courses used to train engineers at Amazon are now available to all developers through AWS. We've been using machine learning across Amazon for more than 20 years. With thousands of engineers focused on machine learning across the company, there are very few Amazon retail pages, products, fulfillment technologies, stores which haven't been improved through the use of machine learning in one way or another. Many AWS customers share this enthusiasm, and our mission has been to take machine learning from something which had previously been only available to the largest, most well-funded technology companies, and put it in the hands of every developer. Thanks to services such as Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Polly, Amazon Translate, and Amazon Lex, tens of thousands of developers are already on their way to building more intelligent applications through machine learning.
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Since its creation in 1994, Amazon has grown far beyond books. It's become almost synonymous with online shopping, while building a large physical footprint of warehouses and stores, a workforce of more than 600,000 people and a cloud business used extensively by the U.S. government, among others. Amazon is not the dominant player in many of its sectors. But its range has helped it become the second most-valuable U.S. company, behind only Apple. A rumor of Amazon's interest in a new field can send that industry into a stock market whirlwind.
Now companies like Airbnb and General Electric essentially rent computing from Amazon -- otherwise known as using the "cloud" -- instead of buying and running their own systems. Businesses can then store their information on Amazon machines, pluck data from them and analyze it. For Amazon itself, A.W.S. has become crucial. The division generated $25 billion in sales last year -- roughly the size of Starbucks -- and is Amazon's most profitable business. Those profits enable the company to plow money into many other industries.