Wal-Mart to Sell iPhones

News broke yesterday that Wal-Mart will indeed be selling Apple’s iPhone, most likely by the end of December. The source of the information is employee training materials, and employees of the U.S.-based retail giant themselves. Wal-Mart is still keeping mum about the news, having made no official statement as of yet.

Early speculation held that the 4GB iPhone would make a return, at a new, $99 price point, designed to attract frugal customers in increasingly uncertain economic times. Today’s reports, supported by a number of sources and documents, maintain that a $99 iPhone is unlikely, and that Wal-Mart will instead offer a $2 discount, selling the 8GB model for $197, including contract discount.

Analyst Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest Securities told Reuters that Apple, while unlikely to cut a deal that would affect its profit margins, is probably seeking distribution through Wal-Mart in order to access different market demographics. UBS analyst Maynard Um, on the other hand, thinks a Wal-Mart deal alone will not be enough to broaden the iPhone’s reach, and suggests it should instead be only a first step to even more distribution deals with large retailers.

Details remain unclear, and conflicting reports from various sources indicate that nothing is confirmed, besides the iPhone’s imminent arrival. The arrival date, for instance, is cited by Bloomberg as December 28, but by CNN Money as possibly sometime before Christmas. Likewise pricing and storage space options, with Boy Genius Reports still maintaining that the $99 4GB model is a possibility.

Apple has refused to comment on any rumors or speculation at this point.

Deming’s List: 14 Ways to “Profound Knowledge”

While traveling from Mumbai to New Delhi last week, I met an executive from one of India’s big conglomerates, Mahindra & Mahindra. In case you’ve not heard of it, Mahindra is structured much like the well-known Tata Group. Mahindra has operations in auto-manufacturing (it is the 2nd largest tractor-maker behind John Deere, and makes more jeeps than Jeep!), consumer finance, insurance, and IT-outsourcing. For its creative management practices, Mahindra won something called The Deming Prize in 2003 — and all its managers very proudly bear the “Deming seal” on their business cards. I was embarrassed to say that I didn’t know what this was.

The late W.E. Deming was a consultant and expert in quality control known for revolutionizing Japan’s manufacturing systems in the 1950’s. He ultimately established a think tank in Washington, DC to promote his social-capital philosophy — long before this idea was popular. Deming believed blending “commerce, prosperity and peace” could make businesses more successful.

Sounds lofty but it turns out that F|R contributor and founder Amy Lang studied Deming at Fordham Business School. (See 3 Bites of Wisdom from Barksdale.) Earlier this year Amy actually sent me a memo with the 14 Points that constitute The Deming System of Profound Knowledge, thinking they’d make a good Found|READ post. You might not be in manufacturing, but these points can still help you — Mahindra, anyway has migrated Deming’s ideas across its numerous operating units, from its jeeps to consulting, and it has made a difference to them.

So here are W.E. Deming’s 14 Points for “Profound Knowledge”Read More about Deming’s List: 14 Ways to “Profound Knowledge”