Woot.com Now Playing for Team Amazon

I got a strange email from woot.com today.  I’m a long-time woot.com customer and have gotten some good deals (and some not so good deals, too).  I’ve bought electronics, home appliances, and t-shirts.  I visit the site every day to see what’s up for sale for the day, and I look forward to woot-offs, those days when they sell item after item, leaving things listed just long enough to sell them out before moving onto the next item.  With woot.com, you buy it now or it may be gone forever.  Part of the fun of woot.com is reading the little “story” that goes along with the product.  Even if you never buy anything from woot, the stories are so worth the read.  They have an amazing bunch of copywriters on staff, it appears.

The email from woot was oddly short, however, and despite the humorous subject line, it was not a funny, tongue-in-cheek message, unlike most of their other messages.  Apparently, they’ve agreed to be bought by Amazon.  Like online shoe-seller Zappos (acquired earlier this year by Amazon), woot will continue to operate independently in its home base of Carrollton, Texas, with the same snarky attitude and deep discounts as it has always offered.  Which makes me wonder what Amazon is going to get out of this.

Except that it is apparent to me that Amazon wants to become the online retailer for absolutely everything.  Remember when all they sold were books?  I spend a considerable amount of money on Amazon every year, buying books (both paper and Kindle), music (mostly MP3’s but an occasional CD), DVD’s, clothing, electronics, and yes, even food (great source for some of the exotic coffees and teas I like to indulge in).  I buy on Amazon mostly because of price, which is, oddly enough, the reason I shop woot.com as well.

I wonder how many buyers will notice how many online retailers actually “belong” to Amazon now?  And does this make Amazon the Walmart of the online shopping world?

Apple Going Cheap? Hopefully Cheaper.

Rumors are building that Apple may introduce product discounts not seen before.  In an effort to sell product, PC manufacturers are slashing profit to the point of bleeding.  Apple has held relatively firm in pricing and met or exceeded profit expectations.  A few pricing exceptions are the very modest decreases on the base white Macbook and iMacs.  While Apple may never slash prices to threaten overall profits, surely there is room for a price reduction that will sell more units and maintain the overall profit?  It seems to me that now would be the time to modestly, but attractively, reduce prices and grab market share.

Now is the time of year where Apple can hang a few carrots out there in front of the college crowd.  They are about to start summer jobs. sale1 Why not place some highly attractive incentives out there they cannot refuse?  If Apple can win the hearts of the high school and collegiate students then in a few years the real growth will be seen.  What happens after a whole generation of Apple lovers begin to take control of the companies of the world?

The timing is right.  Apple with it’s $28.9 Billion in cold cash should make a market grab.  Nothing drastic, just a good old-fashioned, irresistible deal that brings the computers within reach.  Perhaps not cheap, but within reach.