Why did Target boot the Kindle?

The e-reader was one of the retailer's big sellers. Is Apple clearing out the competitors before it comes to town?

By Kim Peterson May 2, 2012 4:44PM
Image: Target © Bloomberg/Getty ImagesTarget (TGT) is going to stop selling the Kindle e-reader at its 1,700 stores and on its website.

The news sure sounds like a serious blow to Amazon (AMZN), which makes the Kindle and counts on Target and other stores for sales help.

Both companies are hush-hush about what's going on. The Kindle had been a big seller for Target, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It's hard not to look at the giant blaring coincidence in the middle of all this. Target is expanding the Apple (AAPL) selections in its stores this year, in some cases going so far as to create a mini-store for the maker of iPads and iPhones.

Did Apple kick Amazon out? Are we seeing a brewing retail turf war between the two electronics makers? Here's another theory: Amazon has become such a strong competitor for Target that the partnership was bound to dissolve.

Tech site The Verge threw some fuel on the fire Wednesday, quoting a source saying Target was phasing out Kindles because of a "conflict of interest." The Verge posted an internal company memo about the phaseout, but the memo said nothing about the conflict.

The lovefest between Target and Amazon was going strong since June 2010. The Kindle Fire was even Target's best-selling tablet on Black Friday, according to The Verge.

Amazon needs Target because it can't physically show customers its Kindle line. Unless it opens its own retail stores -- and it's reportedly going to test one such store this year in Seattle -- it must rely on other retailers to show off the goods.

Apple is in a much better position because it already has its own retail stores (which do spectacularly well). And now, it's expanding its retail footprint with the new crop of mini-stores coming to Target. Apple appears to be working with Wal-Mart (WMT) as well, and one Wal-Mart in Arkansas is even testing an expanded Apple display that looks jarringly clean and refined compared to the rest of the aisles.

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106Comments
May 3, 2012 11:15AM
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It's scary how many people on here rave about Walmart. In my home town of 80,000 people, they opened 4 super Walmarts. Alot of people who owned their own businesses couldn't compete and lost their stores and now make minimum wage working for the very same Walmarts that closed them down in the first place.
May 2, 2012 11:30PM
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Headline:  Why did Target boot the Kindle?

Article: We're not sure, but here are a bunch of our guesses.

Reader:  Well, that was a waste of my time!

May 3, 2012 9:20AM
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Who cares about apple but geeks who think they are better because they own some of that overpriced garbage?
May 3, 2012 8:20AM
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Well I won't be shopping at Target anymore.. I'm tired of Apple. They push the US government and the EU to sue MS for being a monopoly.. and then act like one themselves. If there is one thing I can not stand, its a hypocrit.

May 2, 2012 11:34PM
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Does Apple make a good product .. yes usually .. but it is WAY OVER Priced .... My Sony MP3 sounds just as well, is easier to load and use and cost like 1/3
May 2, 2012 7:56PM
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Apple.......really?  I think iApple products are extremely over priced, and actually restrictive in what software and hardware you can use.  I'll just stick to my Windows stuff, thank you very much.  
May 3, 2012 12:41PM
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I love my kindle and thank Amazon daily.  Apple has a cult following- people follow

their every lead and price increase like the people of Jonestown followed Jim Jones.

 

May 3, 2012 1:24PM
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I did not need Target when I purchased my 3 Kindles from Amazon.  I do not think losing target will be a major blow to their sales.
May 3, 2012 9:16AM
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I own Iphones, Ipads and a Kindle Fire...all have their strengths and weaknesses....but the Fire is great for ppl who only want to use their tech device for entertainment...and the $79 Prime connection fee per year is significantly lower then anything Apple offers
May 3, 2012 9:06AM
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I wonder if Target booting out Amazon has something to do with shoppers like me. Once I decided that I wanted a Kindle, I went to Target to look at the different models. I then went home and ordered the device online from Amazon. My reason  for doing so is that I have to pay sales tax at Target. Amazon provides free shipping and does not charge tax. My local sales tax is 7%. On a Kindle Fire, that's $14 saved. 
May 2, 2012 7:37PM
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As of today I no longer shop at Target. I am tired of Apple doing business the way they do. Since it is clear to me that this was part of the contract with Target and Apple I have made my decision. Apple makes nice things but they use non competitive means to strong arm their products and that isn't what capitalism is about. Let them make their products and go head to head with others that is capitalism.


May 3, 2012 10:47AM
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bottom line: where I live (So Cal) sales tax is almost 9% and as far as electronics (and most other items) I have always gotten better customer service, better selection, better information and better prices with Amazon than at any Target I've ever been to. tho' I must admit Target is great for paper towels and cat food.
May 2, 2012 7:12PM
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Target needs to keep selling the Kindle if it sells! There is quite a price difference between a Kindle and an Apple IPad. Now if Apple wants to "target" Targets Amazon Kindle demographic than tney really need to come down in price or come out with a Apple Chip Ipad with less features than their Apple Ipad and comparale to the Kindle in size and tools.  I shop at Target all the time. I also shop with Amazon. I hate Walmart shame on Target for forgetting their shoppers.
May 3, 2012 9:55AM
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this is a huge case of misleading with a headline. the second sentence:

"Both companies are hush-hush about what's going on. The Kindle had been a big seller for Target, according to the Wall Street Journal."

tells you that there is no official answer, then there is paragraph after paragraph of speculation. way to spread misinformation, msn.

May 3, 2012 12:39AM
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Apple is a dirty corrupt horrible company. Poop on apple.
May 3, 2012 6:25AM
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Who benefits the most Apple or China?
May 2, 2012 6:17PM
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Conflict of interest?!?!?!  Do they sell Coke and Pepsi?  It's a conflict of Apple's interest alright!
May 2, 2012 6:43PM
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Personally, I love Amazon. I don't shop with Amazon simply because of their lower prices. The convenience of being able to shop from and have items delivered to my home is priceless. As a plus, Amazon's selection is outstanding. On the other hand, I also love Target and Walmart, but their web sites are less user friendly than Amazon's. That's why I shop at Target's and Walmart's brick-and-mortar stores. However, fighting traffic, trying to find a cart with four good wheels, hoping the item I want is on the shelves with the price clearly marked, standing in a slow-moving long line are all reasons why I prefer shopping online. It takes time out of my day that could be spent doing other things at home. Perhaps Amazon should consider partnering with Walgreens, KMart or Sears. AARP has already partnered with those retailers and they seem to be doing very well. Amazon could sell their tablets through Dollar General, Dollar Tree or Family Dollar stores. Target and Walmart are nice stores, but they aren't the only retailers with clout.  
May 2, 2012 7:06PM
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My bet is on Apple pushing the Kindle out of Targets.

I'm actually surprised by this move considering the lawsuit and settlement that Apple had to eat for price fixing Ebooks recently.  It appears they have not learned their lesson yet.  Perhaps the DOJ should hammer them again.  Lord knows they have the money since they aren't paying Taxes in the US.

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