Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer, said Thursday it was dropping Amazon’s Kindle tablets and e-readers, a sign of how seriously it views Amazon as a competitor in the consumer goods market.
The Kindle Fire can be used for movies, games, and potentially anything Amazon sells, thanks to a built-in Web browser.
Target said in May that it would stop selling Kindles, though other stores, including Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot, said Thursday they would continue to carry the devices.
Wal-Mart did not specify why it was discontinuing its Kindle sales, but analysts said it was not hard to decipher, given that the retailer will still sell similar devices from companies like Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble and Samsung.
Physical retailers have been worried about customers who browse in stores and then buy from online competitors instead. Displaying the new Kindles encourages that behavior, analysts said.
While earlier black-and-white Kindles were good only for reading digital books, the newer Kindle Fire, introduced in 2011, can be used for e-books, movies, games, and potentially anything Amazon sells, thanks to a built-in Web browser.
“The Kindle Fire is the Trojan horse,” said Andrew Rhomberg, the chief executive of Jellybooks, an e-book recommendation site. “It’s a shopping platform that covers so many more categories than e-books. It affects Wal-Mart in a different way than the early Kindles and e-readers did.”
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