Walmart may not be the first name anyone thinks of when they think of technology but in the past few weeks Walmart has again demonstrated why it would be dangerous for anyone to dismiss Walmart or write it out of the equation entirely. In the end Walmart is America’s biggest retailer and as bad as their employee morale or reputation may be, it is a force to be reckoned with.
Certainly Walmart’s music sales probably won’t topple Apple’s iTunes, but who is to say. But Walmart has been taking more significant steps than that.
What’s getting a lot of publicity now is Walmart’s under 100 dollars HD DVD player from Toshiba. Walmart is running high profile commercials for it and it’s a perfect bit of synergy. Retailers like Walmart need electronics purchases to drive their sales, which means they need one side or the other to win. With the variety of companies behind it, HD-DVD looks like a better bet, but the costs and the format war has stalemated the market which should normally be feeding money into the pockets of retailers around the holidays. The under 100 HD DVD player attempts to break that stalemate.
Walmart’s sale of satellite internet via Hughes is less high profile but still quite interesting, as is Walmart’s 200 dollar Linux powered PC. A cheap computer sold via Walmart with the dumbed down GoS that’s popular because of its Google ties. Will it threaten Microsoft? Certainly much so than if it was being sold in some computer shack in Thailand.