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. Smart shoppers go wherever they can get quality products for the lowest prices, even if it means buying from Wal*Mart. The iPod shuffles that they’ll be selling will be identical in every way to the ones you’ll pay more for everywhere else.

    Same goes for buying most Mac desktops and all Mac notebooks at Amazon. Again, they’re the same identical systems that you would get anywhere else, you just pay a whole lot less for them.

    I don’t care what their politics are, I’m simply going to shop where it costs me the least to get the exact same product.

  2. Is it just me, or is the name of the product missing in the first line of this article?

    “Apple Computer has initiated a partnership with Wal-Mart that will soon see the featured at Wal-Mart …” – that’s what I see on my screen.

  3. First off, Apple has Taiwan and China for production so there should be no worries there as they have painfully learned from past mistakes and have hopefully streamlined production. To even think about a deal with Walmart, Target and BestBuy you had better be able to meet demand or risk losing any future partnerships. That is why we are talking March/April time frames for the Shuffle to actually go on sale at those stores. I’m also thinking Wal-Mart could be making a deal with Apple to possibly license the iTunes store and have a Walmart custom front end or section but actually still use Apple’s iTunes store on the backend (Remember the AOL Deal). Like Amazon’s one click licensing.

    I think 05 will be Apple’s best year yet.

  4. “I don’t care what their politics are, I’m simply going to shop where it costs me the least to get the exact same product.”

    This is the kind of consumer attitude that screws your friends, neighbors, and family out of their livelihood. It’s not about politics. It’s about companies across America forced to outsource and close down because Wal-Mart shoppers demand a 40 gallon vat of mayonnaise for $3.

    Maybe the gadget you buy at Wal-Mart won’t put your uncle out of a job, but plenty of other things at Wal-Mart will. And buying anything at Wal-Mart supports this.

    Think more about the hidden costs.

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