More blood on Apple iTunes Store’s play button: Wal-Mart pulls plug on movie download store

“Wal-Mart Stores Inc. quietly canceled its online video download service less than a year after the site went live, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday,” Gina Keating reports for Reuters.

MacDailyNews Take: We thought we heard something new about Wal-Mart today. wink (In an odd coincidence, earlier today we slipped up and reported on the launch of the thing from over a year ago. Fargin’ RSS and not looking at the article’s date! Realizing our mistake — thanks, MDN’ers! — we quickly pulled that article. While regrettable on our part, Wal-Mart’s effort was obviously quite forgettable.)

Keating continues, “Wal-Mart shut down the download site after Hewlett Packard Co. discontinued the technology that powered it, spokeswoman Amy Colella said in an e-mail. She added that it will not look for another technology partner.”

Keating reports, “HP spokesman Hector Marinez said the company decided to discontinue its video download-only merchant store services because the market for paid video downloads did not perform ‘as expected.'”

“Colella… declined to disclose the number of downloads sold on the site,” Keating reports. “A message at said the service was stopped on December 21 and Wal-Mart offered no refunds for the downloaded videos.

Keating reports, “Videos purchased on can be played using the Microsoft Windows Media Player or the Wal-Mart Video Download Manager, but cannot be transferred to a computer other than the one used to download them, according to the site.”

Keating reports, “The news of the Wal-Mart download service’s demise comes on the same day that reports surfaced of an agreement between News Corp’s (Other OTC:NWSAF.PK – News) Twentieth Century Fox and Apple to offer the first movies for rent at the iTunes store.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Keiran D.” for the heads up.]

Wal-Mart pulled the plug on December 21st. Nobody noticed until today.


  1. Are you kidding me? They’re just going to give up that easily?

    Absolutely. Unlike MS, WM knows when to dump a loser.

    Movie downloads are well beyond WM’s customer base, as few trailer parks sport high-speed internet.

    Even their own employees are left out, as nobody who works for WM scale could afford such a luxury.

    For WM it’s back to the drawing board, and the old game of mass-selling commodities to the bottom of the market.

  2. Well, it’s hard to sell a crappy, harder to use, version of a product when the content owner makes you sell it for the same price or more… It’s not Walmart’s fault big media believes you’re a no-good, lying, stealing SOB…

  3. I really don’t think this has anything to do with iTunes. Even though iTunes has sold a fair number of movies, they hardly compete overall, with the few selections they have.

    If anything other than the reasons they gave was responsible, it would be Netflix.

  4. Walmart has been the greatest anti-poverty program in history. Those with low incomes can now get clothing and food and many other things at prices they can afford. Those who don’t get it, or refuse to get it, are the enemies of the working class. Most of them prefer snobbery, and lefty ideology, over the welfare of low income folks.

  5. Kate —
    Ever been to a swap meet? You can get 10 shirts for a buck. Used books, toys, and tools too for a few bucks. Makes Wal Mart look like Nieman Marcus.

    WalMart is responsible for driving down the living wage in the US from being able to support a family of four (GM in the ’70’s) to minimum wage levels (WalMart 2005). They are similar to Microsoft — muscle out the competition by any means possible. Other great companies, like Apple and Google, simply create good stuff.

  6. Here are the two reasons they failed from their FAQ site:

    “What happens if I purchase another computer and would like to use it to play my videos?

    You cannot play your videos on another computer. You can only play your videos on the computer you used to download the video files.
    Please note that videos purchased from Wal-Mart Video Downloads are NOT compatible with Apple iPod, Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), or Microsoft Zune portable players.”

    Imagine a DVD that plays only on one of your DVD players, but not the others esp. your new one! Do these people hate their customers? Or does the next line explain it all:

    “Portable format videos purchased from Wal-Mart Video Downloads are compatible with most PlaysforSure compliant portable video players (visit for more information) and portable video players that support Protected Windows Media Video (WMV).”

  7. > but cannot be transferred to a computer other than the one used to download them, according to the site.

    That kinda sucks. No wonder no one was buying. The “market for paid video downloads” is doing fine (and will be breaking out in 2008). It’s Wal-Mart’s service that “did not perform” (as expected).

  8. Kate,

    If it wasn’t for the fact that Wal-Mart is responsible for the greatest amount of manufacturing job loss in the US, those poor people might make decent wages and not have to buy cheap foreign junk. It works both ways.

    By the way, you wouldn’t happen to work there, would you?

  9. Exellent news!

    Even the greatest retail success story of the modern age cannot even compete with Apple and iTunes.

    Well here is some advice for the WALMART CEO…


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