business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Post reports that Walmart is "escalating" its battle with Amazon "by sending veiled messages to the trucking companies that haul its merchandise from its distribution centers and stores, telling them if they do business with the Web giant it may not want to work with them, according to an industry expert ... The trucking squeeze comes on the heels of reports that Walmart has asked technology companies with which it works to stop using Amazon Web Services for the retailer’s cloud-computing services — or face losing Walmart’s business."

The story notes that "the two retailers are going head-to-head for consumers’ business in every area of retail, and Amazon’s announcement this month on acquiring Whole Foods Market was among the sharpest blows to Walmart, which counts on groceries for half of its revenue."

Walmart says that it had not "had discussions with trucking companies about high-peak delivery times or about Amazon, adding that 'it would be illegal for us to tell them who they can do business with'."

If this demand indeed was made - even if covertly - it could be problematic since Amazon and Walmart are two of the nation's largest "users of truckload capacity."

• The Associated Press reports that "hundreds of inventors have flocked to Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville to find out if the country needs a few more secret sauces, prettier mouse pads or 'instant hair gel' packets for the on-the-go clubber. The 500 businesses selected to take part in Walmart’s fourth annual 'Open Call' Wednesday have already been offered spots on the company’s online portals, as it battles Amazon for billions of dollars in revenue. Visits with Walmart’s marketing team, though, could land any number of entrepreneurs shelf space in nearly 4,700 brick-and-mortar stores."

The story notes that Walmart was not alone: "Amazon on Wednesday held its own event for online sellers. Through its portal, it gives any would-be sellers step-by-step online guidance on how to receive and fulfill orders."

Walmart, the AP writes, has both advantages and disadvantages. "With auditions, Walmart does it differently," giving entrepreneurs access to its buyers and reinforcing its way of doing business. However, at this point Walmart can only carry a finite number of items, which is a limitation Amazon does not have.
KC's View:
've been saying here for quite some time that there is going to be a pitched and aggressive battle between Walmart and Amazon on a number of fronts, and that there inevitably will be a lot of collateral damage. The degree to which these two behemoths are going to come into conflict is only being hinted at in these stories.