Wal-Mart VP: We lost the 'philosophical argument' with Steve Jobs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Wal-Mart on Tuesday said sales during this year's "Black Friday" shopping bonanza faired much better than last, due partly to a more desirable selection consumer products like Apple's iPod.



During a conference call hosted by J.P. Morgan & Co., Wal-Mart Senior Vice President and Treasurer Jay Fitzsimmons told investors that Black Friday sales "were good," noting strong sales of computers, dolls, portable DVD players and video games.



According to Fitzsimmons, this year's Black Friday event was more successful because Wal-Mart stepped-up marketing efforts and picked better items for early-bird specials and other ad blitzes.



Some of the hot items included laptop computers for under $400 and a 15-inch LCD TV for less than $200 -- both of which sold out within minutes.



"Last year, we had a fair number of blitz items left (on Saturday), meaning we picked the wrong items," Fitzsimmons said.



Fitzsimmons also noted that Apple Computer's iPod digital music players were among the items conspicuously absent from Wal-Mart's shelves last year. He attributed the company's decision not to cary the iPod to a "philosophical argument" with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs over whether the iPod player should play music from more varied sources.



"He won, we lost. Now we have nanos in the stores," Fitzsimmons said.



The Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart operates nearly 5000 locations worldwide and is also largest private employer in the United States, with over 1.1 million U.S. employees.



Apple and Wal-Mart entered into a sales partnership earlier this year, running pilot programs to test sales following the release of Apple's iPod shuffle and updated iPod mini players.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    He didn't win. The number of people buying tracks from iTMS and iPod owners won. He's just part of a big team. It's not like he's solely responsible for the success of iTMS/iPod. We should give credit to Apple as a company, not feed Jobs' already giant ego.
  • Reply 2 of 59
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    "He won, we lost. Now we have nanos in the stores," Fitzsimmons said.







    I believe that statement show be, "The consumer won, we lost..." Sometimes, they have to listen to the consumer...
  • Reply 3 of 59
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kmok1

    I believe that statement show be, "The consumer won, we lost..." Sometimes, they have to listen to the consumer...



    Yes, because the consumer certainly wouldn't want to be able to have more choice as to what they can put on their expensive mp3 players.
  • Reply 4 of 59
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    Yes, because the consumer certainly wouldn't want to be able to have more choice as to what they can put on their expensive mp3 players.



    I think we can see from the sales of the iPods vs other players, and the sales from iTunes vs other sites, that very few people indeed, care.



    As long as iTunes has the vast amount of music it does, and as long as that satisfies the needs of the vast part of the buying public, and as long as the prices are in line, why would most people care about going anywhere else?
  • Reply 5 of 59
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Walmart tried to force Apple to put Windows Media songs on their iPods? Why in the world should Walmart care what plays on an iPod?



    [edit] Oh, nevermind, I forgot that Walmart had its own music download store.
  • Reply 6 of 59
    Quote:

    Originally posted by melgross

    I think we can see from the sales of the iPods vs other players, and the sales from iTunes vs other sites, that very few people indeed, care.



    As long as iTunes has the vast amount of music it does, and as long as that satisfies the needs of the vast part of the buying public, and as long as the prices are in line, why would most people care about going anywhere else?




    You're right - but you show exactly why I would like choice. Today, iTunes offers the best service and selection for me. However, there is no promise that this will always hold true. I don't mind that I'm locked in today, but music is a good that is consumed for a lifetime...
  • Reply 7 of 59
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sworthy

    You're right - but you show exactly why I would like choice. Today, iTunes offers the best service and selection for me. However, there is no promise that this will always hold true. I don't mind that I'm locked in today, but music is a good that is consumed for a lifetime...



    Of course. You can burn your tunes to cd, and lose the DRM, so that you could play it anywhere else.



    You can also buy music from other sites and do the same. If you worry about re-compressing, you could use Apple's lossless codec. you lose drive space, but the quality is the same.



    And of course, the iPods play a number of other formats as well.
  • Reply 8 of 59
    boogabooga Posts: 1,081member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    Yes, because the consumer certainly wouldn't want to be able to have more choice as to what they can put on their expensive mp3 players.



    The problem is that that's not what would have happened. You basically have two choices: get yanked around directly by the music companies, or put iTMS between you and them. If sales had shattered across a hundred music sale sites, the labels would have won, we'd have songs selling for $2.50/ea, and everyone would have to play ball or no deal.



    The fact that iTMS exists has protected our choices of what we can legally download and put on our MP3 players.



    Of course, you're free to rip CDs all you want. Many even find some warped self-justification for illegally copying the music. But don't pretend that freeing FairPlay and similar measures would have opened up the market. It would just have been one monopoly [edit: against you] instead of two [edit: against each other].
  • Reply 9 of 59
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by melgross

    I think we can see from the sales of the iPods vs other players, and the sales from iTunes vs other sites, that very few people indeed, care.





    Actually, that means nothing. That's like saying people liked MS all those years because of all the people who bought windows.



    Fisrt off, to say that people buy iPods, so they must love getting themselves stuck into an all apple provided package is naive. First and foremost, the iPod is hip and cool and boss and all those other things. A lot of people get it because of that. Most probably don't realize they can't get music from Napster or the like.



    Secondly, comparing music store purchases is also an iffy proposition. If you make the assumption that choice of music player has no effect on store sales, then your arguement is generally correct. But most sane people believe that the iTMS sells tons of music because people want digital music to put on their portable music device, which, it turns out, is the iPod by a large majority. This basically forces those who want to buy online to go to the iTMS.



    Now if the iPod was open to all formats, or the iPod had such a small share that it woudl only marginally affect the sales percentages, and the iTMS still sold a large margin, then your argument would be valid. However, its so hard to say, just based on numbers, that people are content with the arrangement.



    Quote:

    As long as iTunes has the vast amount of music it does, and as long as that satisfies the needs of the vast part of the buying public, and as long as the prices are in line, why would most people care about going anywhere else?



    Yes, because we know no company would ever take a large success and marketshare, like the iPod and iTMS, and use it to first bully competitors out of business (or doing business their way) and then using it to hike prices and lose concern over things like ciustomer service and the like. That would only occur with a company like Microsoft. Or oil companies. Apple never would do such a thing.



    And if anything in your "as long as" hypothesis changes, guess what? The consumer is screwed. Because they can't go anywhere else to buy music. And they can't get another music player and transfer their music to that. They are stuck in Apple-hell for as long as Apple says they need to be (again, look at all the people still stuck in MS-Hell, because changing would be so costly).



    Quote:

    You can also buy music from other sites and do the same. If you worry about re-compressing, you could use Apple's lossless codec. you lose drive space, but the quality is the same.



    Yeah, nothing like going that extra 15 miles to "buy music, burn it to CD, re-rip said CD into iTunes". And exactly why is this 'acceptable'. Why shouldn't consumers be allowed to just take their WMA audio and slap it on their iPod? Why must I play by Apple's rules (yet people are so hell-bent not to play by MS's rules). It also kind of defeats the whole "impulse buying" concept, since you can't just buy a song somewhere and listen to it on your iPod, you have to spend a half-an-hour to get it there.
  • Reply 10 of 59
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Louzer

    Actually, that means nothing. That's like saying people liked MS all those years because of all the people who bought windows.



    Fisrt off, to say that people buy iPods, so they must love getting themselves stuck into an all apple provided package is naive. First and foremost, the iPod is hip and cool and boss and all those other things. A lot of people get it because of that. Most probably don't realize they can't get music from Napster or the like.



    Secondly, comparing music store purchases is also an iffy proposition. If you make the assumption that choice of music player has no effect on store sales, then your arguement is generally correct. But most sane people believe that the iTMS sells tons of music because people want digital music to put on their portable music device, which, it turns out, is the iPod by a large majority. This basically forces those who want to buy online to go to the iTMS.



    Now if the iPod was open to all formats, or the iPod had such a small share that it woudl only marginally affect the sales percentages, and the iTMS still sold a large margin, then your argument would be valid. However, its so hard to say, just based on numbers, that people are content with the arrangement.







    Yes, because we know no company would ever take a large success and marketshare, like the iPod and iTMS, and use it to first bully competitors out of business (or doing business their way) and then using it to hike prices and lose concern over things like ciustomer service and the like. That would only occur with a company like Microsoft. Or oil companies. Apple never would do such a thing.



    And if anything in your "as long as" hypothesis changes, guess what? The consumer is screwed. Because they can't go anywhere else to buy music. And they can't get another music player and transfer their music to that. They are stuck in Apple-hell for as long as Apple says they need to be (again, look at all the people still stuck in MS-Hell, because changing would be so costly).







    Yeah, nothing like going that extra 15 miles to "buy music, burn it to CD, re-rip said CD into iTunes". And exactly why is this 'acceptable'. Why shouldn't consumers be allowed to just take their WMA audio and slap it on their iPod? Why must I play by Apple's rules (yet people are so hell-bent not to play by MS's rules). It also kind of defeats the whole "impulse buying" concept, since you can't just buy a song somewhere and listen to it on your iPod, you have to spend a half-an-hour to get it there.




    Wow, you took a very long post to come up with no real information.



    Don't try to compare this to the Windows OS. That's a poor comparison. People buy that because companies buy that. companies buy that because it was an IBM product that they were buying, not an MS one. They would never have bought an MS OS at the time, even if they had one.



    The lock-in from that reverberates even today. It's possible that we may be seeing people starting to move away from it.



    The iPod was bought in the beginning because it was a clearly superior product. No other company could compete with it. I remember the numbers rising every month when the Times showed the sales numbers of the mp3 players. Apple's marketshare rose from nothing to 43% at the time iTunes was released.



    iTunes made the experience far better - and cheaper- than any other combination ever before. No wonder many went to it.



    With 75 to 80% of the market now, Apple has an effective monopoly. They won't drive out the competition, but there is a shakeout of the weakest players. That's normal.



    But people don't have to buy an iPod.



    It's not what's required at work. They can get the same songs elsewhere. It's all pretty cheap. We're not talking about hundreds or thousands for a computer system plus hundreds or thousands for software.



    I know people who have switched over the years - to the iPod.



    If your friends have it, then you want it as well, so what? this is what happens all the time. Is that some evil scheme?



    If someone comes up with something better, people will start to switch over to that. Fine, that's the way it works.



    Just remember that nothing is forever.



    Can you still play an Edison cylinder today?



    How about all of those 70 to 82 rpm records from the 20's to the late 40's?



    What about Lp's over the next couple of decades?



    VHS tapes?



    You can preserve your iTunes. you may not like it, but too bad. Nothing's perfect. There isn't any guarantee that the WMP will be around any longer, or Real's format, or Sony's, or any other. What about OGG Vorbus? do you think that will be here in 20 years? I doubt it.



    Whatever you buy, you should save it on hard transportable media.



    I hope my Lp's and cd's will be usable 20 years from now as well.
  • Reply 11 of 59
    As a side note, when comparing music stores, you have to consider the DRM. With Napster, for exampole, you have to keep paying in order to keep the music, whereas with Apple you own it, alebit with some anti-copying devices.



    I would support the theory that iTMS and the iPod are simply superior products to the competition's offerings.
  • Reply 12 of 59
    hmm, i've just read this whole post and it seems there's a sort of negative reply towards the limited choice of music sources of the ipod.



    the music choice is unlimited, providing you can burn it to cd.



    90% of my music is bought from any music store i see fit to buy from, then i simply rip it onto my ipod.



    the other 10% is from any other sources i find the album or songs from, if you download it from somewhere else what's stopping you from transfering it into the itunes library, if you rip it or even import it from file itunes converts it into the ipod format itself.



    really, the companies that disallow cd burning are in the wrong, as that is one main thing stopping you from actually owning the music you've paid for.



    steve job's deserves his big ego, but obviously 'apple' as a whole deserve it to.
  • Reply 13 of 59
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    I've yet to meet anyone who says they won't buy an ipod because they want to use WMA music or a WMA music store. I've met a couple who like the idea of a subscription and I believe that maybe thats somthing Apple should/will get into - it doesn't interest me, but if it interests some people and the lack of it for ipod is preventing them buying one, then Apple should probably provide the service.
  • Reply 14 of 59
    Apple bests Wal-Mart... that is un-frickin-believable. Good job, er... Jobs!
  • Reply 15 of 59
    I believe the correct thing to say is 'PWN3D'.
  • Reply 16 of 59
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sworthy

    but music is a good that is consumed for a lifetime...



    I don't understand this statement. The file doesn't necessarily deteriorate when played, there is no consumption.
  • Reply 17 of 59
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    I don't understand this statement. The file doesn't necessarily deteriorate when played, there is no consumption.



    Hey Jeff, read my last post. He thinks that when iTunes goes out of business, or the iPods are no longer manufactured, he will no longer be able to play his music. That was my response.
  • Reply 18 of 59
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gene Clean

    He didn't win. The number of people buying tracks from iTMS and iPod owners won. He's just part of a big team. It's not like he's solely responsible for the success of iTMS/iPod. We should give credit to Apple as a company, not feed Jobs' already giant ego.



    Ah, just a point; Steve has a right to his large ego - he grabbed Apple by the balls, put the political bullshit aside, and single handily picked it up and swivelled it above his head - so yes, he does have a right to be a little smug being the one that rescued it.



    Whilst the other CEO's were running their Anti-Microsoft programmes at the detriment of the company, Steve realised that its necessary to occasionally eat a little humble pie and perform a little ass kissing - and its paid off, now Apple is in a strong position than ever.



    Believe me, when Apple stores become so ubiquitous, the need to rely on third party resellers will be very small.
  • Reply 19 of 59
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kaiwai



    Believe me, when Apple stores become so ubiquitous, the need to rely on third party resellers will be very small.




    I don't know if I would ever discredit Wal-Mart's market compared to that of Apple stores. We have one Apple store in Iowa and I wouldn't expect more in the near future, but there are dozens of Wal-Marts. You're probably never more than a 30 minute drive away from one. It's a lot easier to bite the bullet make that big iPod purchase when you don't have to plan a trip to get it.
  • Reply 20 of 59
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rasnet

    I don't know if I would ever discredit Wal-Mart's market compared to that of Apple stores. We have one Apple store in Iowa and I wouldn't expect more in the near future, but there are dozens of Wal-Marts. You're probably never more than a 30 minute drive away from one. It's a lot easier to bite the bullet make that big iPod purchase when you don't have to plan a trip to get it.



    I am glad that Steve Jobs stuck to his conviction, and walmart had to accept things on those terms. Usually the producers have to back down to wlamart's demands, it seems.



    I don't go to walmart, it has ruined a lot of American companies like RubberMaid was taken down, and the factory sold off. I don't care if they have achieved a huge market and are bigger than intel, ms, hp, and others combined, it can take a leap in to the lake so far as I am concerned. I do go to best buy, as it is one of the few electronics stores around.



    But since like you say, there are so many wlamart stores, it helps exposure for the iPod, if Apple can make enough. For Apple it is a matter of business. If a company can have its goods in wlamart, and make money at it, then that is entirely a matter of that companies business.



    There are a lot of people in Apple who have worked to make it what it is now.



    I would certainly still use my iPod if Apple allowed in other music formats.
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