@max:> Amazon still hasn't actually made a profit -- they have a huge turnover but they spend it as soon as they get it...
It's not exactly that. Amazon has benefited greatly from the online tax loophole. While it has benefited cusomers with lower prices - it's still surely not according to the spirit of the law. And there also use various tax shelters to prevent from paying taxes - again using a loophole.
So some analysis of the business claims that without all those tax benefits , there's no big cost/efficiency advantage for amazon over regular retailers who do ecomerce.
Now that those loopholes are closing, their situation is a bit more difficult - higher prices than competitiors and amazon is losing money.It would be interesting to see how amazon navigates itself , especially with competition over walmart.
Right, engineers are usually very happy with 1% tolerances.
Accountants are different. A well-known taxation authority once had rules (maybe it still does) for paying quarterly estimated taxes. Basically gaze into your xtal ball and make an estimate of what you will earn by year end, then part of the calculation involves multiplying by a factor with 4 decimal places of significant figures. Only an accountant could come up with this sort of accuracy.
Of course Amazon does have a smart idea and to 1 significant decimal place.