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by Mike Zazaian September 29, 2006 - 11:10am, No Comments

iTunes 7 movie download interface

After blackballing Apple’s attempts to woo Hollywood studios into its iTunes movie download service, Wal-Mart seeks appeasement in the situation by claiming a [unwarranted] piece of the pie.

When Apple first approached Hollywood studios about involvement in its new iTunes video download service, Wal-Mart executives strong-armed the Studios into not to dealing with Apple. Threatened by the prospect that Apple’s lower prices on movies could cut into it’s $17 billion sales in DVD profits, Wal-Mart’s executive of DVD sales David Porter in turn threatened studio execs, saying there would be serious repercussions if studios signed on with Apple. And with nearly 40% of all DVD distribution coming from Wal-Mart sales, the studios had no choice but to give Apple the cold shoulder, leaving iTunes video downloads with only 70 Disney titles.

Finally Wal-Mart and Apple are in talks over the matter, but thus far discussion has been very one-sided in Wal-Mart’s favor. A proposed solution would let consumers use coupons for Apple iTunes video downloads, which would simply fork over a portion of the download profits to Wal-Mart’s bank account. Apple doesn’t benefit from the deal in any way, except that Wal-Mart would alleviate pressure on Studios and allow Apple to expand its iTunes DVD download library at their own discretion.

Discussions over the coupon matter are in their early stages, however, and may not come to fruition at all. It’s hard to say whether it would be preferable to have Apple give Wal-Mart a completely undeserved share of its profits, or whether Apple should withdraw from the talks and tell Wal-Mart to take a hike. Either way, next time you visit the iTunes video store and are faced with only The Incredibles and Beauty and the Beast Director’s Cut Edition, remember that Wal-Mart is to blame.

[via Variety]