It took Amazon 18 years as a public company to catch Walmart in market value. It took less than another two years for Amazon to be worth twice as much.

On the 20th anniversary of Amazon’s IPO, Amazon’s market cap stands at $459 billion before the market opens for trading. Walmart’s? $228 billion.

Walmart has well more than three times Amazon’s annual revenue, and five times its net income. But Jeff Bezos and Amazon have sold a vision of revenue growth over huge net income figures — and Wall Street has largely bought in.

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With that freedom, Amazon has continued to consistently grow its revenue north of 20 percent, while pumping cash into big new business areas like AWS — which some have estimated is already worth $160 billion — and the Alexa voice computing platform.

For Amazon’s next act, it’s taking on Walmart on its own turf: Brick-and-mortar retail.

By Jason Del Rey, Recode.net.

CNBC’s parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode’s parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

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