Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report , the e-commerce force outpacing companies across several industries, has revealed that it's investing in becoming even more of a beast.

Amazon beat German automaker Volkswagen AG's global research and development spending in 2016, which ranked number one from 2012 to 2015, by spending more than $16 billion. And, it may have just secured its lead with a record $4.8 billion outlay in its first quarter, according to Bloomberg data.

Neither Volkswagen or Samsung Electronics, the latter in which was ranked number two from 2012 to 2015, released their R&D spend for the first quarter yet. Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report spent $3.9 billion on R&D in the first quarter and Intel (INTC) - Get Report and Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report both spent about $3.3 billion, Bloomberg data showed.

Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) - Get Report spent a record $10.39 billion on R&D in 2016, and nearly $3 billion in the fourth quarter. The company is expected to release its first quarter results after Tuesday's market close, with its R&D spend likely to have been boosted in front of the iPhone 8 release. Last year it was speculated that Apple spent most of its R&D expenditure on its autonomous car concept dubbed "Project Titan."

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