OpenStack comes up huge for Walmart

100K+ cores and counting

For those skeptics who still think OpenStack isn’t ready for prime time, here’s a tidbit: @WalmartLabs is now running in excess of 100,000 cores of OpenStack…

Staples, RadioShack remove Amazon Lockers from their stores

Staples and RadioShack are both pulling Amazon Lockers, which allowed customers to pick up online purchases at their convenience, from their stores. It’s not that surprising: Other chains, like Walmart and Target, both stopped selling Kindle products last year.

iPhone 5 with $45 Straight Talk Unlimited plan now at Walmart

Straight Talk, the $45 a month no-contract provider that resells wireless service from major U.S. carriers, has finally embraced the iPhone 5. Walmart is selling the phone with Straight Talk service and $25 a month no-interest financing. But there’s one major caveat to the deal.

Walmart Labs launches Goodies, a Birchbox-like service for food

Walmart Labs, the retail giant’s innovation arm, on Wednesday launched a subscription food service called Goodies. Similar to beauty startup Birchbox, the service charges subscribers a monthly fee to receive a curated box of sample-sized items, which they can then purchase in greater amounts online.

LocBox nabs $5.1 million Series A to run local marketing campaigns

For local barbers or tattoo artists, launching an advertising campaign on Facebook or Twitter might not come easily. LocBox, a Bay-area startup that came out of AngelPad’s winter 2011 class, has raised $5.1 million to build large-scale marketing campaigns for small-scale businesses.

Following Target, Walmart stops selling Kindles

Walmart has announced that it will stop selling Kindles in its stores and on its website, suggesting that as it beefs up its own e-commerce strategy it does not want to turn sales over to a competitor. Target also stopped carrying Kindles in May.

Walmart builds its own shopping search engine

Walmart is now relying on its own search engine called Polaris to help guide shoppers to the right products. The search engine was created out of @WalmartLabs and incorporates semantic technology acquired through Walmart’s purchase of Kosmix.

WalmartLabs loses Kosmix founders

Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, co-founders of the social media startup Kosmix, have announced that they’re leaving WalmartLabs, where they led the San Bruno innovation and data arm of the massive public company.

Your milk might expire, but 3G data from Walmart won’t

In a new twist on old pre-paid data plans, WalMart and TruConnect have partnered to offer “Internet on the Go.” The service offers pre-paid 3G data in small buckets for use with a MiFi. The data you purchase never expires, so it’s attractive for occasional use.

Wal-Mart takes cash for online purchases

For many people without a credit or debit card, it has been hard to make online purchases from Now, the retailer is taking a big step to address this audience by accepting cash payments for online goods, letting people come into the stores to pay.

Did Boxee only sell 200,000 boxes?

There are only around 200,000 people out there using a Boxee Box, according to numbers released by the company this week. That’s low, but it’s also part of a bigger trend: Consumers still have to warm up to the idea of buying connected devices.

Smartphones make big gains in prepaid

Smartphones long ago lost their hoity-toity status as the toys of the technological elite, but in the last few years they have been moving down to the lower-rungs of the mobile market ladder. Smartphones accounted for 29 percent of all prepaid device sales in 2011.

Walmart Labs buys mobile agency Small Society

Walmart Labs, the social and mobile lab created by the retail giant, has picked up mobile agency Small Society. The small Portland team will be incorporated into Walmart Labs, which has a Portland office and previously acquired Set Direction last year.

How Wayfair quietly built a $500M a year web business

In today’s crowded world of e-commerce, it’s not easy to make a name for yourself. That’s why it’s so impressive that Wayfair, a relatively little known website dealing in home furnishings and decor, is set to make more than $500 million in top-line sales for 2011.

Walmart tackles gift-giving with Shopycat Facebook app

WalmartLabs, the new commerce research lab created out of Walmart’s acquisition of Kosmix, is formally launching its first product, a gift-finding Facebook app called Shopycat. The app enables users to take the likes, shares and interests of friends and turn them into intelligent gift recommendations.

Search plus social equals richer shopping experiences

The store of the future has yet to be imagined if Venky Harinarayan, SVP Walmart Global eCommerce and Head, @WalmartLabs, is correct. His organization is experimenting with integrating social, search and shopping experiences for both retailers and consumers.

Vudu avoids the Apple tax with iPad mobile site

Vudu is finally making its streaming VOD store available on the iPad. But while most streaming video services have launched apps on the tablet, Vudu is coming to market with a mobile web experience, in part so that it doesn’t have to share revenues with Apple.

As DVD sales decline, adds Vudu streaming

Vudu’s streaming-video-on-demand service is about to get a big boost, as it’s being integrated with the website of parent company Walmart. That will introduce millions of new “every day low price” shoppers to the joy of online video through the Vudu service.

Introducing: The new eco label “WindMade”

Eco labels have worked well in some cases, such as organic food, but will they work for renewable energy? The wind energy industry thinks so and proposed a program Wednesday to encourage companies to invest in wind and display their eco-friendly cred.

Roku lands in Walmart without Netgear help

Roku has confirmed that it’s struck a retail partnership to sell its broadband set-top boxes in Walmart stores. But the deal comes without the help of Netgear, whom Roku had partnered with last year to extend its reach into major retail outlets.

Vizio’s Vudu Button Highlights Race to the Remote Control

Vizio is adding a Vudu button to remote controls for its connected TVs and Blu-ray players. The button provides easier navigation to the service, but it also highlights the struggle publishers face when trying to reach viewers on connected devices where dozens of apps compete.

Amazon One-Ups Walmart, Expands Disc+ Program

Amazon is expanding its Disc+ On Demand program and now making it available for more than 10,000 titles, just a day after Walmart dipped its toes in the optical-plus-digital pool with a promotion that allows Toy Story 3 buyers to stream the movie on Vudu.

Buy Toy Story 3 at Walmart? Stream It on VUDU

Tomorrow, when Pixar’s Toy Story 3 becomes available on DVD and Blu-ray, any consumer who buys a disc at Walmart will receive a code to download the film to their VUDU-enabled device. According to VUDU, “The future of media has officially arrived, and it is awesome!”

Walmart Slashes iPhone 3GS to $97

If there’s even been a more sure sign that new iPhones are coming in the immediate future, it’s the fact that Walmart slashed the price of Apple’s iPhone to $97, representing a savings of $100 if you’d purchased it from them last week.

Wal-Mart is Buying Vudu

Wal-Mart is buying over-the-top video company Vudu, according to a report by the New York Times. Apparently talks are already underway with Hollywood studios and television manufacturers. Here’s what else you need to know.

Will Amazon Be the New Wal-Mart?

As analysts scratch their heads try to explain why Amazon’s stock defies gravity, they’re coming up with theories that are of interest even to non-investors. A Cowen & Co. analyst argues that Amazon “can eventually achieve a Wal-Mart-like share of the U.S. retail market.”

Wal-Mart Wants In On The Used Games Biz, Too

GameStop has been the only major player in the used video game business for at least five years — but that all changed in 2009. In Q1 alone…


Will Google Lead the Way in Mobile App Innovation?

This research note outlines Google’s strategy to unleash the next wave of mobile innovation, particularly with respect to mobile apps. These efforts will create extraordinary new opportunities, not just for Google, but also for developers, OEMs, end-users and other mobile players. The changes that result also pose significant risks to legacy companies, who could be relegated to a supporting or niche role, or like the retailers who failed to adapt in the face of change brought by Wal-Mart, disappear altogether. Of course, there is no guarantee that Google will succeed, but the logic of its strategy is sound, compelling and likely to unfold in some form.

Apple is #1 (in music)

Ars Technica is reporting that the NPD Group’s numbers are out! Apple is the number one distributor of music. They sell more…