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Amazon generated about $2.9 billion in free cash flow in 2009, which was just before it really started to ramp up capital spending.

I find it interesting to note that a lot of observers have stated that
their earnings disappeared because they are spending that money on capex.
That would explain it from a cash flow point of view as you note, but
not an earnings point of view, since the only hit to current earnings
from giant capex is the current period's depreciation of those assets.
Unless they are buying stuff with a one year life span, that's seems
unlikely to be a good explanation for the bulk of the fall in earnings.
I haven't delved into it as it's so far from being an investment of interest.

FWIW my database shows free cash flow peaked at around $907m about when
earnings/share peaked around $3.25, then most impressively dropped to about -1.5bn.
Did you mean total cash flow $2.9bn?

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