Walmart (NYSE: WMT) will begin to cut hours at some of its 24-hour stores, a sign of flagging traffic as the holiday retail period begins. Walmart has been in the process of rebuilding its domestic operations of years as people move to Target (NYSE: TGT) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). The IndyStar reports that “At select locations in markets across the United States, the nation’s largest retailer is ditching its round-the-clock, 24-hour schedule and closing some stores from midnight to 6 a.m.”
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will become the equivalent of a huge global telecom enterprise as it integrates its Skype unit, recently purchased, it a number of its products. This integration will likely include Xbox360 and a number of Microsoft’s desktop products. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) began to put Windows mobile onto most of its phones, which means Microsoft will compete with itself and its allies. Skype, which 130 million active members, is a direct threat to the fees traditional telecom companies receive for voice and text services.
Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) will increase the number of the Nook e-readers available in its largest stores. It expects that shoppers will buy the e-readers as gifts. The move is not likely to work. The Nook’s two most powerful competitors–the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle and Kindle Fire–have already demonstrated they can draw huge consumer demand. Much of the Nook inventory will probably go unsold
Douglas A. McIntyre