NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I once owned some Amazon.com ( AMZN). I bought it at $180/share and sold it at $230/share.
I sold because I thought it overpriced, but it hasn't seen that price since then. It's now at $250, and TheStreet's Robert Weinstein says the next time I see that $230 price, it'll be going down, down, down to stay. Maybe. Any growth story is harder to sustain as numbers get bigger. As they get bigger they get serious and leave their marks everywhere. On the land, on government, on the public mind. Amazon is no longer a scrappy upstart. It's the Wal-Mart ( WMT) of the Web. It's also the Wal-Mart of the cloud. It dominates even Google ( GOOG) in the sale of public cloud services. Quartz recently unpacked Amazon's cloud revenue from the rest of its earnings, using the company's own figures, and came out with a $600 million quarter. That could grow to $3.8 billion for all of 2013 -- meaning it is growing at more than 50% per year. What's that worth? Business Insider figures $19 billion. Consider that Rackspace ( RAX), the leader in serving the open source OpenStack cloud infrastructure, is worth $6.6 billion with half Amazon's revenue. Since the Amazon Web Service API, which drives the service, remains proprietary, Amazon has a bigger moat around its AWS revenue.
How about those retail sales? Take the $19 billion off the current market cap of $113 billion and you're paying $94 billion for $15.4 billion in first-quarter sales. (Take out those cloud revenue, remember.) That's still a gain of 20% from last year's first quarter. Maintain that momentum for a full year and you're looking at almost $75 billion in sales for 2013. Now, that still means you're paying $1.25 for each $1 of forward sales, which is almost double the 55 cents per $1 of 2012 sales you're paying for Wal-Mart, or the 47 cents for each $1 you pay for Costco ( COST) revenue. But what else are you getting? A bigger moat, for one thing. As Amazon adds to its sales, it adds to its delivery infrastructure. It adds more warehouses, closer to customers. It adds more automation to those warehouses, it adds more data to its own data stores, and it adds more delivery infrastructure as well. Not just here, but everywhere. It should have 102 fully-automated warehouses around the world by this Christmas, according to Internet Retailer.