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. 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.

    I read a little while back that it was the manufacturing capacity constraints and not hard drive availability that had limited Apple in the run up to Christmas.

  2. Interesting.

    I can’t even tell if the Wal-Mart “music store” is back up since the page tells me it requires Internet Exploder. I don’t even have that installed on my Mac mini.

    Oh well. No loss.

  3. IMHO
    The reason Walmart sell so many CDs is that 1) People are already there buying bread or toasters or toilet paper or furniture or cloths or whatever and 2)They sell them at no profit or at a loss so customers will be other stuff 3)People equate Walmart with low prices

    What does Apple gain from this partnership? Online shopping is completely different. i dont Apple will liscence to Walmart unless they are gonna liscence to Everyone.

  4. Buffy:

    How about iTunes kiosks in Wal-Marts? Plug in your iPod and buy music from the kiosk directly onto your iPod.

    MDN magic word: very …as in “That scenario is very unlikely.”

  5. I just cancelled my order because they didn’t keep to the original delivery date. Yet all along they have enough to serve even more americans with ease. Tisk tisk.

  6. Wow, I sure wish I would have bought more AAPL at 20 dollars (I bought some more at 64, kicking myself while I did it) Oh well, at least I am in on it enough to for sure get a good computer out of the deal. Thanks Apple! The thing is tho, I don’t know when I will be able to bring myself to sell. It just keeps getting better and better.

  7. Now what would be extremely cool is if Walmart was also smart enough to realize that it can make much more money by shutting down its music store and pushing iTMS. Heck, Apple pays like 5 cents per song sold through its affiliate program, right? A site like Walmart.com could probably make a pretty sizeable chunk of change by becoming an iTMS affiliate, rather than continuing to prop up a home-spun music store that is probably bleeding millions of dollars per quarter in operating costs.

    I hope Apple is smart enough to suggest this to Walmart. It would be a coup on the order of getting HP to sell a co-branded iPod rather than sink $50+ million developing and marketing their own player and then ending up with a money loser.

  8. Steve Jobs and the old NeXT team has spent the last 7 years bringing Apple back from the dead. If the goal was to sell computers, software and acessories to the public this day had to come eventually. Think about all of the hard work put in with the transition to OS X, the X-Server, RAID, X-San, X11 client, iPod, iPod mini, iPod Shuffle, iTMS, Safari, iLife & iWork suites, iChat AV, QuickTime, .Mac, PowerMac G5, iMac G5, eMac, Mac mini and Apple Retail. Most of this was going on during an economic recession and a tech depression following the popping of the “Tech Bubble” in the face of derision, doubt and FUD from the mainstream media.
    The hardware and software are ready and it appears that the market may finally be ready. Most all of the components are in place. This is going to be an interesting year in the World of Mac.
    Well Done.

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