Wal-Mart to sell Apple iPod shuffle? Walmart.com music service is ‘temporarily unavailable’

“Apple Computer has initiated a partnership with Wal-Mart that will soon see the iPod shuffle featured at Wal-Mart discount locations around the country, AppleInsider has learned. According to sources close to the retail giant, Wal-Mart in April will begin receiving mass quantities of Apple’s new iPod shuffle digital music player, which it will then make available in many, if not all, of its nearly 5000 locations,” Kasper Jade reports for AppleInsider.

“The deal between the two companies will be capped by a feature in Wal-Mart’s March tabular advertisement, sources say. Typically speaking, a Wal-Mart feature calls for at least 50 units — in this case 25+ of each shuffle model — per hometown store, while metro area locations would require significantly larger quantities of the product. Figuring conservatively, with 5000 stores each receiving approximately 50 units, the feature alone would demand a quarter million shuffles,” Jade reports.

Full article with more information here.

MacDailyNews Note: A quick visit over to Wal-Mart’s WMA-infested (and iPod-incompatible – which hasn’t stopped them before – see related articles below) online music store currently yields this:
Sorry!
We’re sorry, this Walmart.com service is temporarily unavailable. Please check back at a later time for this service.
In the meantime, there are other Walmart.com products and services available to you. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Interesting development or just a coincidence?

The Wal-Mart online music FAQ is still working and currently states:
Will Wal-Mart Music Downloads play on my iPod?
At this time, the Apple iPod will not play Wal-Mart Music Downloads files. Our files are in the WMA format with DRM (Digital Rights Management) encryption. Many other media players will play our files.

Perhaps Wal-Mart has decided now that they’d actually like to sell songs? And the best way to do that would be to offer a download format that works on the market-dominating iPod family of devices, right? Questions, all – no answers, yet. Stay tuned…

[UPDATE, 1:23pm ET: An MDN reader has informed us that he contacted ASDA UK (a Wal-Mart subsidiary) and asked if the iPod shuffle deal included the UK. He was told be a customer service rep that iPod shuffle deal will cover the UK as well.]

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Wal-Mart begins selling 20GB ‘Apple iPod from HP’ which is incompatible with Wal-Mart Music Download – September 19, 2004
Mossberg: RealPlayer Music Store ‘not as good as Apple’s iTunes, but better than Wal-Mart’s entry’ – April 01, 2004

35 Comments

  1. it occurs to me… what if apple *really* breaks loose this year? what if walmart sells ipod shuffle, and best buy sells the mac-mini, and everyone *really* gets into apple… is apple ready to meet the production requirements of success? my biggest fear is that they will be a victim of their own success. surely Jobs has considered all of this.

  2. As much as I’d love to see Apple take off I can’t help but worry that popularity will breed a different Apple company. One that tries to please the masses.

    As elitist as it sounds, I’ve grown accustomed to people dissing Apple and then talk about what bizzarre bug their PC has picked up.

    But hey, Apple’s a good company, they make good products and software so I hope it all works out…Wal-Mart users and all.

  3. “..surely Jobs has considered all of this.”

    My thoughts exactly. i hope Apple can meet the production if they take off this year, cause right now it doesn’t look so good.

    secret word “army”. The Mac army is ready to take over the world, lol!

  4. brett and PeterJ — I share your fears. But overll I’m a whole lot less frightened than I was a few years ago when I was concerned that Apple would cease to exist. I’d say that our current fears are, relatively speaking, a pleasure.

    Magic word: “products” !!!

  5. MDN.. you’re implying that Walmart has lisenced the AAC/F format to sell?

    That’s just weird..

    Going from the iTMS to the walmart WEBSITE?!

    The developments are incredibly great news.. walmart.. sells 1 in 6 CDs in the US.. so they’re a huge force.. I’m sure Apple would make an exception to spend some engineering time on an iPod compatible site for them.. somehow..

    I just don’t see why Apple would be so opposed to ‘profit sharing’ by setting up mini iTunes-compatible stores within iTunes.. I guess you could have a button at the bottom of the iTunes panel that says [+] add store..

    of course.. whats the point of having multiple stores? This is what we’ve seen on the WIndows side.. many stores.. not much difference between them, little value added

    The only VALUE ADDED, is when you can buy a song through a website/store YOU’RE VISITING ANYWAY.. like the walmart online store…

    so there would be little/no iTunes integration.. which is very Steve Ballmer/Rob Glaser.. ewwwwww

  6. I have no doubt that it will take Apple time to catch up with demand for popular products. To some extent they do this becuase they cannot afford to have large amounts of inventory for products that don’t sell well enough. Plus remember that Apple have to issue contracts to the manufacturers – if they contract for too much then they have to foot the bill.

    Apple are going to become huge very quickly. Even now they reported revenue that is a third of microsoft and profits that is a fifth of M$.

    At this rate Apple will have a lot of money to spend on advertizer, product development and a market share that will encourage developers to move their focus to the OS X platform.

  7. I’m sure Apple could figure out a way where you are in Wal-Mart’s site and previewing a CD to press a button to purchase that track and have it automatically load into iTunes. Wal-Mart gets traffic & sales integrated with iTunes and millions more wonder why they ever bothered with Windows.

  8. Wal*Mart to sell iPod Shuffles. Best Buy to sell Mac Minis. A Landslide of positive press from mainstream rags and newspapers. More watercooler discussions than for the CES (except about Gate’s problems and the picture of him in bed with a Powerbook). People buying iPod Shuffles and Mac Minis so fast, there’s a 4 week waiting period.

    This doesn’t seem real. But it is. What an unusual feeling!

    I was talking with a Law Research fellow this afternoon on my Tech Support phone, and he was pissed about having a Dell machine that was unusable every couple of weeks after having it cleaned of Spyware and Viruses. I mentioned the Mac Mini to him, since all he needs it for is simple online Legal Research. He brought in his Dell and asked to see me. And I showed him my iBook with Panther on it. Demo’d Exposé, Safari, Mail, the Dock, the Finder, and kept reinforcing the fact that there hasn’t been one, single, successful viruse/worm/trojan attack on the Mac OS, nor is there any Spyware/Adware affecting the Mac yet. He’s so impressed with that alone, he wants a Mac Mini. I mentioned the KVM switch option, so that way he doesn’t lose the Dell investment, and you should have seen the smile light up. He is going to get a Mac Mini, and use that for online stuff, but keep the Dell disconnected except for Windows Updates. He’ll probably network the two to share files and data for his work, but he’s never using the Dell for his online work again, once he gets the Mac Mini hooked up.

    Now if he’s the average joe…how many more Mac Minis will be sold in the coming months?! I’ve heard people say they predict 5 million Mac Minis old in the first year alone.

    I think they’re being VERY conservative in their estimates….

  9. Consider that apple is offering the Shuffle in walmart and not the ipod/ipod-mini. The biggest hassle for apple’s supply of ipods is the harddrives. Take the harddrive-based iPods out of the deal and give walmart only flash-based ipods…. it should be VERY easy for apple to keep up with demand.

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