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Wal-Mart Threatens Studios Over iTunes Sales 415

Posted by Zonk
from the how-dare-they dept.
Y-Crate writes "It seems Wal-Mart is threatening retaliation against studios who decide to offer movies on iTunes. The Bentonville, AR retailer seems a bit miffed that someone would dare to undercut their prices. This wouldn't be the first time they've turned on a supplier for dealing with Apple." From the article: "Last year when Disney announced it would begin offering episodes of the hit shows 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives' on Apple's iTunes, the reaction of the world's largest retailer sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. Wal-Mart, worried that offering the shows for viewing on iPods would cut into DVD sales at its stores, sent 'cases and cases' of DVDs back to Disney, according to a source familiar with the matter."
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Wal-Mart Threatens Studios Over iTunes Sales

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  • Egads!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LaughingCoder (914424) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:22AM (#16166229)
    Another business whose primary "value added" is their distribution channel (record labels come to mind) trying to fight technological changes that make their business model obsolete. Methinks we've seen this before, and we'll see it again.
    • Re:Egads!! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tim C (15259) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:37AM (#16166437)
      We've seen this before every time a new process or invention has threatend to make an old way of doing business obsolete, and we'll see it every time it happens in the future. People smashed looms when they were introduced, because they put people out of work; people here have moaned and wailed about offshoring; the recording industry wails about electronic distrribution of media; now a bricks and mortar retailer is threatening suppliers over a perceived threat to its current way of making money.

      Distribution channels have nothing to do with it; it's all about money and a perceived threat to someone's way of making it. "The more things change, the more they stay the same..."
      • Re:Egads!! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LaughingCoder (914424) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:46AM (#16166485)
        Distribution channels have nothing to do with it

        My point is that Walmart's value added *IS* their distribution channel. They don't make anything - they distribute products. That's what they do, and iTunes electronic distribution of movies threatens (one aspect) of that. So, since Walmart's business model is basically a distribution channel, that has EVERYTHING to do with it.
        • by eno2001 (527078)
          True. Wal-Mart is the ultimate symbol of what is wrong with the world today: TOO MANY MIDDLE MEN WHO DO NOTHING IN TERMS OF ORIGINAL PRODUCTION. Why do you think Dell prefers to buy up technologies from smaller companies rather than having R&D? Not because they love technology and want to help people have better lives, that's for sure... They do it because it allows them to make a lot of money with little investment. The downside is that they have damn little hope of actually fully understanding t
          • Re:Egads!! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by The Snowman (116231) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @10:29AM (#16166935) Homepage
            True. Wal-Mart is the ultimate symbol of what is wrong with the world today: TOO MANY MIDDLE MEN WHO DO NOTHING IN TERMS OF ORIGINAL PRODUCTION.

            While I have issues with Wally World, this is not one of them. Wal-Mart performs a valuable service: they stock thousands of items on their shelves that I really don't want to have to buy straight from the manufacturer. They handle some of their own shipping and distributing, i.e. moving stuff around. Sure, I could drive to another state to buy something from the manufacturer directly. I could also pay a shipping company such as UPS to deliver it for me. Or, I could go to a store that stocks it on their shelves (e.g. Wal-Mart) and have the convenience of a short drive from my house 24 hours a day to buy it.

            Middlemen definitely have advantages in a supply chain. True, too many will drive up prices and down quality in some cases (e.g. food items that spend too much time shuffling around and have a short shelf life by the time you purchase them). However, do you really want the inconvience of having to pursue the hundreds of items you need on a weekly basis yourself? Personally, I prefer to use stores.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Bing Tsher E (943915)
              Furthermore, WalMart actuall 'Flattens' the layers of middlemen that consumers otherwise have to obtain their purchased through. WalMart deals directly with the producers of goods, not through several layers of bullshit like the Mom & Pop operations. As a result, they keep the 'middle' costs down.

              This pisses off a whole consortium of 'gimmie' operators in the middle, and the scale of their operation terrifies the Union Bosses who want to be the main 'big guys' and maintain their industry-wide labor ca
            • Re:Egads!! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by squidsuk (850172) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @03:05PM (#16168959) Homepage

              Grandparent goes a bit too far, while some original production is of course necessary, middlemen and distribution can also add value, depending on circumstances, exactly as you describe:

              While I have issues with Wally World, this is not one of them. Wal-Mart performs a valuable service: they stock thousands of items on their shelves that I really don't want to have to buy straight from the manufacturer. They handle some of their own shipping and distributing, i.e. moving stuff around. Sure, I could drive to another state to buy something from the manufacturer directly. I could also pay a shipping company such as UPS to deliver it for me. Or, I could go to a store that stocks it on their shelves (e.g. Wal-Mart) and have the convenience of a short drive from my house 24 hours a day to buy it.

              ... however, this makes sense for products which are physical and tangible - it's not clear that it makes sense any more for intangible products which can be distributed at effectively zero cost. That's pretty much there now, for music/mp3's, even videos and films, software, and pretty much anything reduced to digital form. There's no reason to ever remove anything from the catalog, all you need is a slick interface and decent search engine.

              Thus there's no longer any value-add to being a middleman for a wholly intangible product - maybe for a version of that intangible with a nice pressed disk, a nice case and professionally produced insert, but then those tangibles are what you're really paying for, not the digital bits on the disk. Sure, it's disruptive technology, and there are established players whose business model is being wiped out - but that's normal, to find that the normal state of the world is to be changing, and it's counterproductive (and, in the longer run, pointless) to try and freeze everything like a fly in amber and imagine it will always be the same

          • Re:Egads!! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Jerf (17166) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @10:42AM (#16167023) Journal
            Wal-Mart is the ultimate symbol of what is wrong with the world today: TOO MANY MIDDLE MEN WHO DO NOTHING IN TERMS OF ORIGINAL PRODUCTION.
            Wrong. They centralize a lot of products into one place so you don't need to travel to the Nabisco store and the Keebler store and the M&M Mars store and the Pepsi store and the Coke store and the Nike store and the Sony store and the Nintendo store and the Pioneer store and the... clearly this could go on for quite a while.

            They are also able to lower costs by shipping en masse to this facility rather than shipping to a bajillion homes directly or a lot of separate stores, and there's other benefits in centralization that reflect in the costs, both to them and to you.

            These benefits are not unique to Wal-Mart, which is, after all, why they are neither the first nor last retail chain. They've merely been the most successful.

            Retail stores add plenty of value for the consumer. Do-nothing middlement would be the ones between Wal-Mart and the relevant factories, and I'd lay money the number of those has been undergoing a dramatic decrease in the past decade.

            Given how screwed your understanding of business is in the first twenty or so words, I'm not even going to begin to try to take apart the rest of your message. I merely invite you to put your clearly awesome business skills to the test someday.
          • Re:Egads!! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sloppy (14984) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:36AM (#16167417) Homepage Journal
            True. Wal-Mart is the ultimate symbol of what is wrong with the world today: TOO MANY MIDDLE MEN WHO DO NOTHING IN TERMS OF ORIGINAL PRODUCTION.

            This has to be a joke. Wal-Mart is the antithesis of "too many middlemen" as they have crunched out so much inefficiency. They have built a distribution and logistics structure that would shame most armies. You might even say that Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart's product, and if it's not original, it sure is highly evolved.

        • by Retric (704075)
          Grand parent post was saying:

          Another business trying to fight technological changes that make their business model obsolete.

          Is clear but:

          Another business whose primary "value added" is their distribution channel (record labels come to mind) trying to fight technological changes that make their business model obsolete.

          is less clear. Record labels also promote the music they distribute through direct advertising, image management, ect. They still make money off of itunes even if they don't itunes all that
          • Record labels also promote the music they distribute through direct advertising, image management

            You are confusing business model with tactics intended to implement/support the model. You cited a bunch of expenses that record labels incur in order to support their business model, which is to distribute music. They don't make money by paying for advertising ... they make money by selling (distributing) music. Ditto for Walmart. Their TV ads and print ads are expenses designed to stimulate sales.
    • Walmart fights whomever it wants when they sell that company's stuff in their stores. Walmart is the biggest retailer in the country. Getting your stuff sold in Walmart can make or break your company's sucess and Walmart knows that. Disney could have said they didn't care what Walmart thought but my money is on that they absolutely crapped their pants when Walmart hinted they might slow or stop sales.

      It wasn't about halting technological change so much as it was that Walmart would want "dibs" on a new lo
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by El Torico (732160)
        Getting your stuff sold in Walmart can make or break your company's sucess and Walmart knows that.

        Only if you make cheap junk; if you produce a high-quality product and are not willing to make compromises, then Wal-Mart is not your retail outlet.

        Here is a good story about how the CEO of Snapper stood up to Wal-Mart - http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/102/open_snapp er.html [fastcompany.com]

        • Re:Egads!! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cluckshot (658931) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:30AM (#16166633)

          As very nearly every product supplier to Walmart has found out, they throw their weight around. You sign on thinking you are going to make a profitable access to the market. Then they come back throwing weight around. Shortly you as a supplier have your profit margin (The reason you are in business) squeezed to zero and below. You can't make this up in margin. Shortly if you don't cave entirely, they find another supplier. If you cannot sustain, you go broke. This is no formula for profits. It is the formula to go broke. Walmart of course profits all the way to your funeral or bankruptsy.

          I have some good news. Dollar General Store is about to slit their throat. Dollar store is locating in areas where Walmart lives and eating out their roots. Dollar store is paying their help and giving them benefits like insurance. Dollar store is serving their customers and I can already see that Walmart is headed for the ropes. You can only slit the throat of your suppliers for so long. Then you go broke too!

          • Re:Egads!! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @10:35AM (#16166981) Homepage
            Dollar store is paying their help and giving them benefits like insurance.

            Slightly of topic, but reminds me of In'n'Out Burger. They pay decent wages to their employees, health benefits are the rule and what surprised me most: They use neither freezers, nor microwave ovens. The produce is delivered fresh, every day.

            Tasting such a burger is an epiphany. When you order it with onions, for example, you bite into a real onion and not into some fuzzy crap, designed by a food lab.

            Now, the surpising thing, acording to Fast Food Nation, The Dark Side of the All-American Meal [barnesandnoble.com] is the fact that In'n'Out Burger is highly profitable, even though their prices are quite reasonable.

            To me this proves that you don't have to fuck your suppliers, employees and ultimately customers left right and center in order to turn a buck. This is somewhat encouraging in a world where greed and cheap seem to turn more and more into religious mantra.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by WhiteWolf666 (145211)
              Costco, also.

              Costco, in terms of how they treat their employees, and how they negotiate with suppliers, is the anti-walmart.
          • Rubbermaid (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Aqua OS X (458522)
            A few years ago Walmart forced Rubbermaid to close down US plants and begin manufacturing overseas. Now this wasn't because people were not buying Rubbermaid goods. They did this at a time when Rubbermaid was extremely profitable and people were more then willing to buy their products as priced.

            However, Rubbermaid became reliant on Walmart for distribution, and Walmart wanted cheeper supply. At first Rubbermaid wouldn't fold, but then Walmart stopped carrying Rubbermaid products. By doing that Walmart almos
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by dthree (458263)
              Because of walmart throwing a tantrum at rubbermaid and refusing to accept a price increase due to the cost increase of raw materials, Rubbermaid had to close factories, fire people and eventually was bought out by the Newell corp or risk chapter 11.

              Here is a bit more detail:
              http://www.sprawl-busters.com/search.php?readstory =646 [sprawl-busters.com]

              Newell tried to keep the company afloat, but walmart continued to turn the screws on them, forcing more factory closings, more layoffs, and like you mentioned, manufacturing outsour
        • Re:Egads!! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dubiousmike (558126) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:58AM (#16166751) Homepage Journal
          Sanpper didn't "Stand up" to Walmart so much as made a smart decision:

          "Now, at the price I'm selling to you today, I'm not making any money on it. And if we do what you want next year, I'll lose money. I could do that and not go out of business. But we have this independent-dealer channel. And 80% of our business is over here with them. And I can't put them at a competitive disadvantage. If I do that, I lose everything. So this just isn't a compatible fit."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by steve_bryan (2671)
        Unfortunately for Apple, Disney would sooner tell them to jump off a bridge than to ruin a relationship with Walmart.

        For your edification you might want to review some relevant facts. The single largest stockholder in Disney is Steve Jobs. In a related fact Steve Jobs is on the Board of Directors of Disney. So you expect Steve Jobs to tell Apple to jump off a bridge?

        In any case Disney is a huge company that doesn't need Walmart to be successful. These strong arm tactics are probably very threatening to smal
  • What about Amazon? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Psykechan (255694) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:23AM (#16166233)
    So studios that sell movies through iTunes get boycotted by the 500lb Retailer but studios that sell movies through Amazon's Unbox are fine.

    Either they aren't particularly worried about Amazon being a threat or they have it in for Apple.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by El Torico (732160)
      ...but studios that sell movies through Amazon's Unbox are fine.

      Which is very odd because Amazon and Target are partners. This press release is from 2001 - http://news.com.com/2110-1017-275199.html [com.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Itchy Rich (818896)

      Either they aren't particularly worried about Amazon being a threat or they have it in for Apple.

      Amazon are still limited by the fact that they're selling boxed media that have to be stored, tracked, delivered by hand, etc. The fact that you're buying the same boxed media online instead of in a shop is just a matter for regular competition, territory that Walmart is familiar with. Apple is distributing media entirely digitally, which means the costs and profit margins are very different. I suspect that'

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ThisIsForReal (897233)
        Yeah, I guess you haven't heard of "unbox" either. No problem, most of the rest of the world has, too and it should hopefully go away soon.
  • Whoa whoa whoa... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HoosierPeschke (887362) <hoosierpeschke@comcast.net> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:24AM (#16166235) Homepage
    This seems to me that Wal-mart is using its position as a major distributor to strong arm against its would be competitors. It's not quite a monopoly (read Target, K-Mart, etc...) so is there any legal avenue to take against Wal-mart for this kind of action (other than consumer action which doesn't work so well when dealing with lower prices)?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286)
      This seems to me that Wal-mart is using its position as a major distributor to strong arm against its would be competitors. It's not quite a monopoly (read Target, K-Mart, etc...) so is there any legal avenue to take against Wal-mart for this kind of action (other than consumer action which doesn't work so well when dealing with lower prices)?

      Uhhh, no. Happily.

      What is it with you litigious anti-Walmart goons?

      It's NOT a monopoly, as you stated. Plenty of other big stores in the same business, competing on
      • by Skye16 (685048)
        Settle down, chief. If there was a legal avenue to take, then it's our right to take it. If you don't like the laws, either change them, leave, or go hang out with teenagers who bitch about their parents rules but won't get the fuck out of the house.

        With that said, there doesn't seem to be. There probably shouldn't be. How do you make "being a fucking jerk" illegal without throwing 90% of the population in jail for breaking it at one point or another?
        • If there was a legal avenue to take, then it's our right to take it.

          That's not true. Even if there was a way to legally murder someone, you still have no right to do it. There have been many bad things that were legal in the world's history. The people who did them still had no right to do so.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        What, because iTunes delivers movies tek-no-log-ee-cully ("oooh, shiny!"), all the brick-and-mortar operations that have pumped truckloads of money into the studios' pockets over the years are supposed to just roll over and cave?
        If they cannot compete fairly, and do not want to get into the new distribution channels business themselves, that is precisely the fate they deserve.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by xenocide2 (231786)
        "Gosh, dern, there, Mister Studio Boss, shucks, we're just a simple uber-ultra-mega-chain from Arkansas, don't know nothing 'bout birthin' no downloads. Shure, we brung ya to the dance, bought ya dinner, drinks, and flowers, but it's OK if ya want to leave with that there Miss Apple. We understand, she shore is purty!"

        Of course, one could interpret them returning all that stock as an admission that itunes is a cheaper delivery system that they can't compete with. Or maybe an angry ex-girlfriend throwing all
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zadaz (950521)
      Monopolies are not illegal in America.

      However, there are antitrust laws that this certainly seems in the realm of. Not that they're enforced, but there are laws...
    • It's probably not illegal for monopoly reasons but perhaps there is another angle.

      Publicly traded companies are obliged to protect the investments of their shareholders. If Wal-Mart refuse to stock products that their customers clearly demand, they are depriving themselves and their shareholders of revenue. It would be like a publicly traded bookshop refusing to stock Dan Brown because the CEO think's he's an overrated hack.

      Unless they can justify a pretty good business reason for doing this, i.e. not just
  • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin...wick@@@gmail...com> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:24AM (#16166237)
    Walmart got where it is today by pressuring suppliers (often right out of business) and if anyone can break the will of the MPAA on something, it's Walmart. Considering that Walmart can't (currently) handle this kind of digital distribution model, and that they are often fueled by impulse/other buying when someone goes to purchase electronics and entertainment, it's in their best interest to stamp down a more convenient distribution system.

    I think it's a good move for Walmart (but not for us) because everyone knows that Walmart is "evil" (read: more able to use power in a negative fashion than most companies, which are relative lightweights) and most people don't give a damn because that's how they afford all their stuff. I doubt there will be serious backlash, come monday everyone will still be going to fill up their big boxes at Walmart.
    • from everything I've read, Walmart has a lot of cutting edge large system/enterprise technology and it staff,

      Why can't they handle this kind of distribution model? they have a music store, they have a on-line photo gifts store- they have-- gosh -every feature amazon has except panache...
      • by Rich0 (548339)
        Perhaps they want to, and by threatening studios they hope to get them to allow them to distribute media in this way.

        The difference between DVDs/music and photos is that the former are copyrighted (well so are the latter, but by the customer so if the customer wants to download them there is no issue). Walmart can't just choose to distribute movies over the net and then cut the studios a check. And they couldn't compete with Apple if they had to buy a boxed edition for every one they sell online (and even
        • Walmart can't just choose to distribute movies over the net and then cut the studios a check. And they couldn't compete with Apple if they had to buy a boxed edition for every one they sell online (and even then courts might not like them unilaterally changing the format - even if it results in NO lost DVD sales).

          If you think the studios charge more for wholesale DVDs than for wholesale download-rights, I think you've got things very much reversed.

          Wholesale DVDs can be had for a couple of bucks a disc for m

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dubiousmike (558126)
        Walmart has gotten their logistics to the point where they automatically make 2 to 3 percent more than anyone else for the same product even if Walmart and say Sears sell at cost. That means that no matter what Walmart makes more selling the same product.

        Walmart can't make the same money when the distribution model isn't physical, at least not yet.

        Walmart uses their selling power to get what they want from manufacturers. If your DVD doesn't get sold in Walmart, you automatically lose something like 15% of
        • do you know of which you speak?

          have you seen the per track prices in their online music store?

          • Uh yeah, I do. My wife's theisis was on Walmart's Distribution. Regardless of their prices on digital ditributed products, they don't make the same margin from that as they do physically distributed products. They would much rather compete on the physical end and will "encourage" manufacturers to continue to push forward more so int he physical areana for now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by JasonBee (622390)
      Sorry, but the post "I'm going to have to disagree with you now." is WRONG.

      A food company's subsidiary (that rhymes with "bestlee") in Germany capitulated to Wal-Mart on pricing for one of their premium product lines a few years ago, meaning Wal-Mart's prices were FAR lower than every grocery store's prices across the country. Eventually the smaller retailers did what they had to do...stop selling that product line, or demand the same prices...which of course would only mean Wal-Mart would ask for even lowe
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think you mean a Swiss conglomerate. They ain't German, snookums.

        Apropos Germany, Wal-Mart has given up for good its attempts to penetrate the cutthroat market there. They had the whole "American interloper" going against them, strong worker protection laws that hamstrung them and a niche that was already filled with homegrown discount chains. As I understand it, there are other EU countries where they haven't had the success they wanted.

        I think the defeat they suffered in Germany has made them paranoid,
  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:54AM (#16166307)
    I can't help feeling that the studios should call the Wal-Mart bluff here.

    Wal-Mart may hate the idea and threaten and moan, but if all the studios jump onto the iTMS then Wal-Mart will buckle. They can't drop their entire DVD line unless they want to drop a whole market.

    The power rests with the studios here, but they're scared.
    • "Wal-Mart may hate the idea and threaten and moan, but if all the studios jump onto the iTMS then Wal-Mart will buckle. They can't drop their entire DVD line unless they want to drop a whole market."

      Walmart sells DVDs below cost, as a loss leader. This works for Walmart as it draws people into the store, and it works for Hollywood because they move tons of product at their normal wholesale price. Walmart could always find another loss leader to lure people into the stores, but Hollywood couldn't easily find
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Also, they're completely different products. If iTunes movies are anything like Amazon UnBox movies, then there will still be a strong market for movies bought at the store on DVD. The restrictions that they put in place, including the fact that you can't burn it to DVD to play on your TV, means that this will only make DVDs lose a minimal amount of sales, possibly lose no sales at all, because it's so restrictive and takes so long to download a movie that it's simply easier to go down to the store and pi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WhiteWolf666 (145211)
      The question is whether or not the MPAA will do what it must do: Guarantee online distribution.

      The MPAA is the movie's industry cartel. They are SUPPOSED to strength the industries negotitating power when it comes to disputes like this. As a group, if the MPAA stood up to Walmart, not to say, "Fuck You", but instead to say, "Wally, we can't do that", it would change the market.

      Unfortunately, I truly believe that the MPAA spends all of its time pursuing piracy and the like, and couldn't be bothered to suppor
  • by Paul Carver (4555) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:57AM (#16166311)
    The article conspicuously fails to state whether Wal-Mart was correct or not.

    The article assumes that Wal-Mart sent DVDs back to Disney out of spite, but what if Wal-Mart merely made an accurate assessment of the situation? Did Wal-Mart sell out of the whatever titles they returned? Were there customer complaints about lack of these titles? Or was Wal-Mart correct in its assessment that the demand would be lower?

    I don't know if it's right or wrong, but from what I've read Wal-Mart requires its vendors to agree that they'll take back overstock if demand is less than expected. If Wal-Mart can send back "cases and cases" of DVDs and still keep the titles on the shelves than they're simply behaving sensibly.

    If they can't keep the titles on the shelves then this seems to be a classic case of "cut off your nose to spite your face". We're talking purchase here, right? Not rental? If you're renting a DVD and they don't have the one you want you might rent a different one. If you're shopping to buy a specific DVD, I can't imagine that you'd simply buy something else if the store doesn't have the one you're looking for.

    We're not talking about interchangeable products here. If you want "Lost" on DVD and Wal-Mart doesn't have it you'll go elsewhere. Personally I find deepdiscountdvd.com to be a great source, but there are countless others. What percentage of the US is really so cut off from civilization that if Wal-Mart doesn't carry "Lost" they can't get it some other way?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shadow99_1 (86250)
      As for "What percentage of the US is really so cut off from civilization that if Wal-Mart doesn't carry "Lost" they can't get it some other way?", well I happen to have done some travellign around my state recently (Pennsylvania) and in alot of small towns all there is to buy such things (heck most things) from is Wal-Mart! Wal-Mart killed the mom & pop stores there and no big companies want to come play there, so Wal-Mart is it... For just about everything.

      The sad part is most people don't seem to care
  • by alchemist68 (550641) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:04AM (#16166327)
    I wouldn't mind seeing Wal-Mart suffer a little - after all, most of its merchandise comes from COMMUNIST CHINA! Is *THIS* the new American Way?!!! I think NOT!

    Boycott Wal-Mart!

    Boycott Sam's Club!


    Girlcotting is not the same thing!
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Does more of Walmart's products come from china than other large department stores like Target? I live in Canada, and my brother refuses to shop at walmart because they are an "evil american corporation, where everything is made in China". So he shops at Zellers, which is the Canadian equivalent. Problem is, is that they sell the exact same stuff. Sure they have the their store brands that aren't carried by the other store, but those products are all made in China/India/Pakistan/Bangladesh anyway. It's
      • by schon (31600)
        Why does walmart always get bashed when all the department stores are the same.

        Please back up that statement with links to HBC (Zellers) strongarming their suppliers and driving them out of business.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by canuck57 (662392)

      Boycott Sam's Club!

      I will boycott neither Wal-Mart nor Sam's Club. In fact looking forward to Sam's club coming to our city to kick some stupid price gouging by the local business.

      What convinced me is I had to get a set of tires fast from Sam's in the US. Later we had a flat, took it into a local Canadian Walmart and when they fixed it free! This was the only tire purchase I ever had go right. I purchased from a Canadian company years earlier and it took me two years, 4 wheel alignments and tire repl

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:07AM (#16166341) Homepage
    This is completely offtopic

    That's odd, all the stories after Microsoft Vista User Interface Guidelines Published don't show the comment count...
  • Walmart is evil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:18AM (#16166365) Homepage Journal
    If they run around threatening suppliers like this, they should be shut down for improper business practices, or at the least boycotted by america for being jerks..

    Yes, i realize that until they are declared a monopoly that they have a right to choose who they do business with, but it doesnt make it right.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      If they run around threatening suppliers like this, they should be shut down for improper business practices, or at the least boycotted by america for being jerks..

      Just as it should be illegal for you to tell your boss "Give me a raise or I quit." It is immoral for two parties to try to negotiate things without there being a guarantee that the transaction will happen, no matter how much the parties disagree about the terms. We need the central committee to step in and make sure that no one ever threatens

  • by 8127972 (73495) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:32AM (#16166415)
    .... On this topic called the Wal-Mart Effect:

    http://www.amazon.com/Wal-Mart-Effect-Powerful-Tra nsforming-American/dp/1594200769 [amazon.com]

    Basically, the author looks at Wal-Mart's tactics in terms of squeezing it's suppliers to get the absolute lowest price and figures that while consumers benefit from this (even if they don't shop there), it doesn't exactly make Wal-Mart "evil." But there are troubling aspects to their behaviour that gives one cause to pause so to speak (like how they treat offshore workers for example).

    Having said that, I think they'll find that Apple may be a different sort of challenge. I don't think studios will cave the same way that Wal-Mart's suppliers usually do.

  • Made with Pride... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bayoudegradeable (1003768) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:39AM (#16166447)
    Anyone remember the days when Sam Walton was alive? MADE WITH PRIDE IN THE USA! You used to see that all over the store... there was an entire movement based on this, it wasn't just a Wal-Mart thing. My father's textile manufacturing company was part of this as well. Don't need to tell you that his business went under a few years back. Anyway, go through Wal-Mart today. Made with pride in the USA? What a joke! Poor Sam must be rolling over in his last-ever-made-in-America pine box. Wal-Mart has gone so China that as an entity Wal-Mart is China's #4 buyer of goods... Wal-Mart, in a top ten list of COUNTRIES, comes in at #4. And if you think Wal-Mart plays hardball with suppliers here... In China the labor movement doesn't exist; workers rights, workers comp (ha!) and such don't exist. Lose an arm... so sorry, no job for you. Given those conditions one can only imagine what factories, suppliers to Wal-Mart, do when Wal-Mart says lower prices. If there were two factories that made plastic bowls and both wanted to sell to Wal-Mart. The cost cutting, the near slave labor conditions that would emerge to give one factory an "edge" can't paint a pretty picture. To think that Wal-Mart actually influences working conditions and helps to suppress rights and compensation for workers in China is dreadful. Made with pride in the USA? Hardly.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      See my reply [slashdot.org] to a similar post here.

      Walmart isn't any worse than any other department store. Just because they sell more product, does not make them evil. No more percentage of their product comes from China than any other department store.
      • Walmart isn't any worse than any other department store. Just because they sell more product, does not make them evil.

        Um, yes, yes they are/yes it does. This is not a response about the ethics of the situation, but about mere language and quantity.

        "Just because Stalin buried more bodies, does not make him more deadly." Wrong.
        "Just it has more pages, does not make it longer." Wrong.
        "Just because it has more hair, does not make it hairier." Wrong.

        If poor labor practices are to you an evil, and Wal-Mart sells
    • by LoudMusic (199347)
      Anyone remember the days when Sam Walton was alive? MADE WITH PRIDE IN THE USA!

      Well if there's any accuracy behind this article, I'm glad someone is sticking it to Wal-Mart. The only thing that could be better would be if they relocated their hardware production to The States and started using Wal-Mart's old slogan. HA HA!
    • by sgent (874402) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:06PM (#16168071)
      my father was a supplier (actually negotiated the contracts) to Sam's Club & Walmart during that time period.

      Wal-Mart's made with pride campaign meant that if your product was the exact same price or cheaper than the Chinese or Mexican product, it would be carried. One penny more and it was out.

      Wal-Mart was forced to discontinue the campaign after a slew of state AG's sued them for misleading advertising.

  • by AC-x (735297) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:45AM (#16166479)
    Wal-mart are worried that they'll sell less DVDs, so they counter this by pulling DVDs off the shelves...

    Good one Wal-mart.
  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv@gmCOFFEEail.com minus caffeine> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:12AM (#16166563) Homepage
    Walmart wants attention or something else they aren't telling the general public. Neither side wants to stop selling disney stuff. Disney could easy turn around and go somewhere else and exploit all other retailers, but that would require work Disney doesn't want to do, and ost them money they don't want to spend, and Walmart doesn't want to get rid of ~20% of their media sales just because they don't like the iTunes store. Disney would come out on top of a silly thing like this if they actually wanted to fight it out in the market, but not without losing a little share price.

    My bet is someone at Walmart asked to talk with the Board of directors at Disney, and the board snubbed them. So Walmart punched them in the arm with this little stunt like a petulant child and is demanding attention. The real life answer to this is to ignore it, but I'm sure they'll have a meeting now and work something out.

    Personally I hope they eat each other alive but whatever, that won't happen.
  • by foo fighter (151863) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:34AM (#16166647) Homepage
    Wal-Mart, for once, has no leverage here. If customers can't get The Little Mermaid super platinum eternal edition from Wal-Mart, they'll go down the street to Target or Kmart or Amazon.

    I can't imagine studios would lose money if Wal-mart didn't carry their albums, especially if they replace physical sales revenue with digital. Of course the studios would like to keep physical and digital revenue flowing, but steady revenues are better than declining revenues.

    If the studios did cave to this threat they are short sighted and craven.
    • If the studios did cave to this threat they are short sighted and craven.

      So, taking that as a given, how long do you think it will be 'til they cave in?
  • .... people boycott wal-mart dvd stands ? Huh ?

    One has to think thrice before taking a stance against 'the people', in which case, 'the people' are the internet.
  • Anne? Charlie? Brian? Diane? Martin? Cynthia? Terry? Bob here. Good of you to join me for this quick, impromptu teleconference. I wanted to encourage you to do one investigative report on WalMart's employment and business practices EVERY DAY. That's right, every single day. For how long? Until the effers go under, that's how long! Eff with a media outlet will they . . .
  • Better news links (Score:3, Informative)

    by PsychosisC (620748) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @10:21AM (#16166877)

    I'm sorry... but this article is drivel. I mean, this is bad for slashdot. It's a month old story, from a joke of a newspaper source.

    This is a bit of an old story... CNN.com allready has a story about how Wal-Mart is looking into opening its own movie downloads [cnn.com]. It makes sense, seeing as they allready have a working music download service.

    The article posted is a bit... Let's just say that the Businesweek article covering this [businessweek.com] has a much less "Wal-Mart is EEEEVIL" ring to it. I know it feels good to pat yourself on the back with the Coorporate hate feelings, but this NY Post article has a pretty blatant and nasty slant that shouldn't have make it to the slashdot front page.

  • by oohshiny (998054) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:11AM (#16167219)
    WalMart is threatening to hurt a competitor by reducing the amount of business they do in specific ways. This is pretty much a clear admission of monopolistic practices, because only in a monopoly situation does this sort of behavior lead to a better financial outcome.
  • by Marc_Hawke (130338) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:17AM (#16167269)
    Are you sure they're 'threatening?' Are you sure they are trying to 'use their muscle.' Are you sure they aren't just reading the market?

    If I was a retailer and I saw 'supply' magically expanded at a HUGE rate while demand stayed mostly the same, I would want to get rid of some of my inventory quick. If I had the option of giving it back to someone else I'd do that. I might be a little angry at the lost revenue, but it doesn't mean I'm using dirty tactics or, 'trying to send a message.' I'm just evaluating the market and adjusting supplies.

    Saying "Selling movies online will cut into DVD sales" is like saying, "If you open another McDonalds across the street, the existing McDonalds won't have as much business." That's not a threat.

    They could have put a little heat on it. "Excuse me, we had a deal, you sent me this amount of product under false pretenses." That still seems complete reasonable, rational, and not in the least bit 'monopolistic' or 'threatening.'

    After reading the article, I'm even more sure that Wal-mart wasn't trying to force them into anything. It was just letting them know that demand for DVD's would drop if they started selling music online. It sounds like Wal-Mart is thinking clearly, and Hollywood is wanting their cake and to eat it to.
  • by Sassinak (150422) <sassinak AT sdf DOT lonestar DOT org> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @12:13PM (#16167683) Homepage
    It seems that everyone has it in for apple. From the people on the street that say "Don't go ipod, buy something else" (ummm.. no one is making a public move relating to windows on that.. and there are FAR more windows users than podHeads).

    To the music business that keeps wanting to raise prices because they feel they are not getting "enough" money.. (dispite the fact that they actually save money from the elimination of the distribution/packaging/shipping/retail costs.. but oh well, sure, they need another solid gold toilet)

    To the movie business (ditto above, except its a solid gold dildo)

    And now walmart is scared because someone might out-price them. Forgetting the simple fact that a sizable chunk of the people that shop in walmart are not heavy on-line purchasers (for other goods and services) so they loose a little money in one department but make it up in another. (it would be better for them to partner with apple, like they do now with the itunes credits) and clip a little off the top for those impulse purchases, than whine that we are not making enough money because the big bad apple (funny huh?) is taking our lunch money.

    Give me a break wal-mart, so you lost a little ground in a particular market because of a different distribution channel. Big Whoop.

    Its been that way all throughout history. (the milkman lost his job because of the grocery store, the news paper boy lost his job because of mailing lists, the indie bands lost their money because of the RIAA, etc...)
  • by Chris Tucker (302549) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @12:25PM (#16167797) Homepage
    ...of the Age of The Replicator.

    Today, I can download a perfect image of a DVD. I can burn it to a blank DVD that will work in my DVD player, just like the storebought version.

    I can also take that DVD, and, if I have the right printer, print a full color "label" right onto it, just like the storebought version.

    I can also download the keepcase cover insert and print that as well, so that the keepcase from the stack of empty AOL CD keepcases in my closet will look just like the storebought version.

    Tomorrow, I will be able to legally download the DVD, the DVD "Label" and the DVD case cover insert and make my own DVD with case, with the blessings of the movie studio. (They're taking the halting baby steps already, via iTunes. They'll eventually see that there's money to be made by letting the consumer do all the work of making the DVD.)

    Essentially, I have a replicator that takes data and makes a product in my home at my demand. A DVD in a keepcase.

    While I don't think I'll live to see a "Transmetropolitan"-esque 'maker' in every home, it IS coming. I regret that I won't be around to hear the howls of outrage from WalMart over that leap of technology.

    I won't regret, however, the societal upheaval that will occur when anyone can have anything, as long as they pay the power bill and can keep the source matter bin full.

    Oh, and the lawsuits over cracking the DRM for the makers will be hysterically entertaining. I'll miss following them, as well.

    Seriously, though. Who neds Gap, Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, Bananna Republic or Levi as a physical place to go and buy something, when you can download the maker source code for a fee, tweak that code for yourself for size and color, and push a button to have that garment drop down the chute 30 minutes later?

    Go to Apple.com, pay a fee, get the source for the new iPod, and there it is the next day, courtesy of your home maker.

    What need have you for the Apple Store? And what need has Apple for factories in China?

    Yeah, the world economy is going to get very sporty for a while once the maker is perfected.

    And if it can make anything, why, I can have ALL THE HEROIN AND POT AND E that I want!

    I can have all the prescription medicines I want!

    I can have all the Coca-Cola I want!

    Imagine THAT table full of lawyers. The PRC, The Taliban and Colombian govts (Opium and Cocaine), EVERY pharm hypercorps, and Coca-Cola, INC.

    All trying to maintain their monopolies over atoms and molecules that have been stitched together in a particular manner and that, by tradition, belong to them and them alone.

    Good luck, guys. You'll need it.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:09PM (#16168089) Homepage Journal
    Competition.

    You got where you are by competing and undercutting everyone else, even going to extents such as forcing your suppliers to fire Americans and offshore manufacturing, forcing them in cases to decrease product quality and/or create "budget" models to meet your pricing strategy, and you've pretty much driven other big-box discount stores out of business.

    Now you get miffed when not only are you getting undercut, but you're being undercut by an honest player who isn't bullying the suppliers to the extent that you do?

    Competition. You got where you are through competition, and now that Apple is beating you at the movie game and Target is rabidly nipping at your heels by offering similar pricing and better quality, you're crying wolf? WTF?

    Competition. Sucks for you, but it's good for us.
  • Hah! Wal-mart.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:04PM (#16168473) Homepage Journal
    This is the same company that has the "integrity" to take a guitar, and where it flat-out says on the box "Suggested Retail Price $99" and mark it up to $129. They have no reason to bitch about other companies beating their "low prices" when they can't even hide the fact they're over-charging you. Fuck Wal-Mart and anyone associated with them.
  • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:45PM (#16169659)
    Walmart, unlike the RIAA/MPAA is NOT in any danger whatsoever.

    Walmart, worst case, will just stop selling movies if (when?) the 'digital download thing' takes off and surpasses retail sales. Big flipping deal. What' the real issue here? Walmart frees up a few hundred square feet in a 100,000 sq foot store which they can fill with:

    Q-tips, Toothpicks, Bathroom scales, Can-openers, Kids shoes, String, Universal Remote Controls, Watering Cans, Aspirin, Spoons, USB cable, Coca-Cola, Ker-Plunk, Pregnancy Test Kits, Bicycles, and ten billion other items that will never be delivered as digital downloads...

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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