Wal-Mart has stumbled a bit of late, losing its technology-driven lead over competitors and causing some, like Nick Carr, to suggest that Wal-Mart is a prime example of why IT really doesn't matter. Suddenly, consultants are being heard who suggest that Wal-Mart reverse its technology direction to buy off-the-shelf proprietary systems:...[A]nalysts say that Wal-Mart's reliance on homegrown IT systems - and its conviction of their superiority - needs to change. Ford and his team, they say, must bring in best-of-breed commercial applications, such as BI and price-optimization tools, that can help it compete with rising retail superstars such as Target, JCPenney and Tesco. "We cannot overestimate how much packaged software can help them right now," says Paula Rosenblum, an analyst and managing partner with Retail Systems Research.
In fact, they can. The only thing that proprietary software gives Wal-Mart is bloat for these overpaid consultants to trim away for them. There is no off-the-shelf software that Wal-Mart can buy and use without extreme customization. Absolutely none.… Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Though he was in town to discuss Dell's new storage products for small and medium-size business customers, company founder and CEO Michael Dell also took time to answer questions about the company's main business, PC sales, which is also an area in which it's recently struggled.
Dell reiterated his company's assertion that there will be more to come of its recent dabblings in selling desktops and notebooks through retail channels.
"We're going to expand to a number of places," he said. "I would expect over the next quarters you'll see … Read more
Carl Howe at Blackfriar's Marketing points out the problems with Wal-Mart's supposed bid to unseat iTunes.
The result: customers are likely to cherry-pick low-cost tracks at Wal-Mart when they can, but any large-scale defections from iTunes or even Amazon just aren't going to happen without a lot more marketing work.
Howe notes that Wal-Mart has a thinner selection and requires Windows Media to even browse its collection but he doesn't mention the biggest problem, possibly just because it's so obvious.
It's just not a convenient way to get songs onto your iPod.
Pentax very quietly announced two new cameras late yesterday. The first, an 8MP model called the Optio Z10, marks new territory for Pentax with a sliding lens cover that moves sideways and, like the sliding covers on Sony cameras, turns the camera on and off. Sony often gets credit for the sliding lens cover design in digital cameras, but many compact film cameras incorporated sliding lens covers years before Sony started using them in its digital cameras.
While those film cameras often had mechanical issues due to their extending zoom lenses, this Pentax has an internally zooming refraction lens. The … Read more
As expected, Sony is selling exclusive models of its LCD televisions through discount retailer Target right now.
Though not available in stores until mid-September, Target.com shows a 26-inch and 32-inch Bravia 720p LCD on its site right now for $799 and $899, respectively. Both are significantly cheaper (and smaller) than the other Sony TVs Target carries.
Walmart.com is next, followed by availability in Wal-Mart Stores next month, according to a Sony representative.
Well it seems that these Xbox 360 price-drop suspicions were not completely unfounded; over the weekend it was discovered that multiple retailers will have the Xbox 360 premium listed at $350 beginning in early August--most likely to coincide with the release of Madden 08.
Thanks to Cheap Ass Gamer, we have two scans of predated ads from Wal-Mart and Toys R Us displaying the $50 price cut. It is unclear, however, about whether this will affect the Elite and Core versions of the console as well.
Check out the Wal-Mart ad scan after the jump.… Read more
Strong holiday sales helped Apple's iTunes push past Amazon and take third place in overall music sales during the first quarter, according to a new report.
A spike in iPod sales over Christmas drove new device owners to iTunes, and helped Apple grab 9.8 percent of the overall music market, according to the report, issued Friday by the NPD Group.
Amazon came in fourth with a 6.7 share, according to NPD's figures. Wal-Mart was tops in the quarter with 15.8 percent and runner-up Best Buy snagged 13.8 percent.
Apple managed to capture a larger … Read more
Dell made waves in the PC industry last month when it announced it would sell two of its desktop computers in Wal-Mart stores. On Friday, the company said Sam's Club would carry two Dell models, a desktop and notebook.
Beginning in mid-June, 580 Sam's Club stores will stock Dell's Inspiron E1501 Notebook, which will sell for $899, and Dimension E521 Multimedia Desktop for $829. More than 3,000 Wal-Marts will have two versions of the Dell Dimension E521 Multimedia desktops--for $698 and $498--on its shelves starting this Sunday.
All models will ship with Windows Vista Home Premium … Read more
Wal-Mart is joining the fray of movie download services today. Its new store (which is mysteriously unfriendly to Firefox) features movies from all six major studios including Disney and Sony--two studios that have a long history of proprietary use and ties to competing download services.
Films range from about $13 to $20 and can be watched almost immediately depending on your connection. Movies are managed and played through a custom player that runs only on Windows PCs. You also can watch the movies in Windows Media Player. Like the iTunes Movie Store, titles released on DVD will be available … Read more