Back in May, Target announced it would stop selling Amazon Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets. Now, several months later, Wal-Mart has followed suit, booting the Kindle line, which includes a range of Fire and Kindle devices, from outlets across the country.
"We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments," Wal-Mart said in an internal memo obtained by Reuters. "This includes all Amazon Kindle models current and recently announced."
So what's behind the shift? Well, a healthy sense of competition, mostly. Consider: Wal-Mart sells a range of household and homegoods products. Amazon used to be just a big bookseller, but in recent years it has become a bookseller that also sells television sets and food products and even deodorant. That's threatening to Wal-Mart and Target.
"I think part of it could be margin, though the bigger point is that Wal-Mart and Target view Amazon as a competitor," Scott Tilghman, an analyst at Caris & Company, told Reuters. (It's worth noting that neither Wal-Mart nor Target has officially commented on the reason for removing the Kindle line from stores; Amazon, for its part, is staying mum.)
Earlier this month, at an event in Santa Monica, Kindle CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a new line of Kindle Fire tablets and a backlit e-reader called the Kindle Paperlight. Generally speaking, critics have been pleased with the new Kindle Fires, and especially the 7-inch HD model. Writing in Gizmodo, Kyle Wagner said he found the tablet "impressive." The modified Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system? Less so.
"[A]fter using Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7, it's just impossible to go back to [the Fire] without it feeling horribly slow and laggy," Wagner wrote. "How bad is it? It's bad enough that when you tap an icon, you wonder if you did it wrong, if maybe you didn't tap firmly enough."
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