OK, I'm going to admit, right up front, that I'm about to engage in speculation, and cannot, and will not, defend this speculation as being true, or even necessarily likely (that should head off the ankle biters, to some degree).
So, the question is: what is really going on, with this story? Might it be (and here comes the speculative part) that Apple and Target conspired to head off Amazon's Kindle as competiton, by getting Target to dump their product, in return for the 'franchise' of sorts to market the Apple products with a far higher visibility?NEW YORK -- Target Corp. is phasing out Amazon.com Inc.'s e-reader Kindle at its more than 1,700 stores and its website.Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said Wednesday that the decision to stop selling Kindles this spring came after an "ongoing review" of Target's merchandise that evaluates quality and prices of the chain's offerings.The move coincides with the discounter's plan to create mini shops of Apple Inc. products in 25 of its stores this year.Despite competition from cheaper tablet computers such as Amazon's Kindle Fire, Apple's iPad remains the most popular tablet. Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since the tablet's debut in 2010.Target, which is based in Minneapolis, started selling Kindles two years ago. Target announced in late November that Amazon's Kindle was the best-selling tablet in its stores on the day after Thanksgiving, typically the busiest day of the year.Target will also stop selling Kindle accessories like covers and chargers.Snyder declined to comment further about its partnership with Apple, only saying, "We will continue to offer our guests a full assortment of e-readers and supporting accessories."A spokeswoman for Amazon didn't immediately return calls.Target's decision to phase out the Kindle is also occurring as the retailer, along with other major merchants, are trying to fight a growing practice called "showrooming." That's when shoppers, armed with smartphones, browse products in physical stores and then shop online for a better price. Earlier this year, Target sent out a letter to vendors asking for help in developing exclusive merchandise and matching rivals' online prices.
Might not some of the justification, on Target's part, be some sort of pricing deal which would make the iPad more profitable than the Kindle, in return for Target dumping the amazon product?
I am NOT suggesting that anything illegal is going on (although there ARE laws about collusion and such which might apply).... but I DO wonder if this isn't a sign of what's to come. Apple now has the largest market cap of any US company... and counts its quarterly profits in the tens of billions. We all applaud 'competition' in the marketplace... but is this really competition? In the early part of the 20th century, the breakup of Standard Oil was recognized as necessary, when a single company, as a consequence of sheer size, wealth and marketplace power, had grown to a size which threatened the marketplace, rather than enhancing it......
...are we nearing the same situation?