'Game Changing' Video Download Offering From Wal-Mart Closes... No One Notices

from the nice-work,-guys dept

Back in February, Wal-Mart launched its video download service and we were among many who declared it dead on arrival, noting that it was no different than all the other failed movie download offerings: pricey, limited selection and overly restrictive DRM. It seemed pretty clear that it was going nowhere fast... and that's exactly what it did. Reuters is now reporting that Wal-Mart shut down the site. Oddly Reuters claims that when it launched unnamed experts "hailed" it as a "game changer." Who are these experts? Shouldn't they be identified (and maybe asked to defend those initial claims)?

Luckily, while Reuters chooses not to identify the analyst, it only took a quick Googling to discover that it was the rather infamous Rob Enderle who called Wal-Mart's offering a "game changer" in an old Reuters article by the same author. This raises a question that has been asked many times before. Why does the press still quote Enderle, who has a long history of being consistently and laughably wrong? Remember, he was also the analyst who declared Bluetooth dead just as it was really picking up steam. And while we're pointing out Enderle's misses, it's probably also worth pointing out his prediction that the iPhone would be a huge drag on Apple's earnings and that marketing surrounding Microsoft's Vista launch would drown out any attention towards the iPhone. Want to revise that, perhaps?

Back to the Wal-Mart "game changer" flop, what's most amusing about the failure is that, as Gizmodo points out, the site was actually shut down over a week ago... and absolutely no one noticed until Reuters came out with a report late Thursday. Wal-Mart claims it shut down the site because HP discontinued the technology that ran the store, which also seems like a strange explanation. If you're serious about opening up a video download store, you probably shouldn't be relying on someone else providing the technology -- especially if there's a half decent chance that that company will pull the plug pretty quickly as it has almost nothing to do with the company's core business. HP blamed the fact that the market didn't develop "as expected." Perhaps the problem was that the store HP/Wal-Mart set up used incredibly restrictive and totally unnecessary DRM that made the service close to worthless. But rather than actually revamping the service to make it something useful the companies have given up altogether. It makes you wonder why they even bothered in the first place.

Filed Under: video downloads
Companies: wal-mart


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  1. identicon
    xtrasico, 28 Dec 2007 @ 4:49am

    Experts are...

    Many times "EXPERTS" are the "stupidessssssst" (superlative of the superlatives) people involved in a project. For Mr. Enderle everything is a "game changer". It doesn't matter if it is right or wrong, good or bad, it is a game changer. Maybe he is like weathermen. They are always right, but he doesn't use percentages or probabilities.

    I did a Google search on "game changer" +Enderle and it gave me a lot of results, and if you read, you can have a laugh, if you are bored and got nothing else to do.

    I did it because I am doing the laundry and I am between loads, reading Techdirt, flaming this moron, the latter been the greatest reason.

    Getting back to the topic, beside the "expert", I have a generic iPod, a Zune and a Zen V Plus. Maybe I was going to be able to see their videos in the Zen's 1.5" OLED Display, which is great for the home made racing videos of my 3000GT VR4 and music, but not so great for movies.

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