The news is out today that Wal-Mart, big-box retailing monster that it is, is planning to offer customized computers in about one third of its locations. That may not be good news for competitors, since Wal-Mart has long made a habit out of chewing up those in its way and leaving them by the side of the road.
It all began as a test program running in about 20 Wal-Mart locations last year. Apparently, Wal-Mart brass were pleased with the results, because the program is now expanding to 1,200 stores, with another 200 or so planned to be added by the end of 2006. While that will still leave about 1,800 Wal-Mart stores without the program, continued success will mean that it's just a matter of time before they all offer the service. Failure, of course, will mean that the initiative will fade quietly away.
While computers have been available from the retailer for quite a few years, their line has been entirely represented by packaged machines with no options whatsoever. Wal-Mart's entry into customized computers puts the chain in direct competition not only with Dell, but electronics chains like Best Buy and the thousands of ma and pa "white box" shops scattered around the country. More...
Credit: ars technica