Wal-Mart, The Grand Delusion, Part II

Back in the 1990s, you knew things were getting a tad frothy when you found companies with essentially no expertise in a “hot business” expanding into businesses they had little or no clue about. A good case in point: Enron and its broadband push. They thought bandwidth was like energy, and well rest is a well known tragedy.

jackass21.jpgThat’s just one example of 1990s style corporate stupidity. If you go through the archives of The Industry Standard, I am sure you will find more. Well into the first decade of the new century, you see delusionary behavior making a strong comeback.

Today, WalMart, which has enjoyed little success with its previous technology expansion plans, announced its desire to get into the movie download business.

One can’t fault them for trying, after all how much can you squeeze your ecosystem and offer everyday low prices. The landscape, when it comes to movie downloads is no different than the digital music market. Every one came, saw, and whimpered away. (Read: Digital Downloads or Dot Bombs of today)

One should expect the same play-by-play action this time around. There are too many me-too download services out there, muddying the waters and confusing the consumers about which movie or television they can download from where, and why. Which device should they get in order to take their digital purchase along with them.

In this land of confusion, it seems once again Steve Jobs will look like a messiah – a device which works with the videos you download from iTunes store. Simple – unfortunately you can’t say the same about Wal-Mart. As Paul points out on NewTeeVee, “There is a question of what might happen to always low prices when customers start calling up asking for online support. Hard to steer them to one of those friendly greeter-folks through a browser.”

Photo: courtesy of Desktop Wall Paper downloads for the movie Jack Ass 2