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Wal-Mart VP: We lost the \'philosophical argument\' with Steve Jobs


Wal-Mart on Tuesday said sales during this year's "Black Friday" shopping bonanza faired much better than last, due partly to a more desirable selection consumer products like Apple's iPod.

During a conference call hosted by J.P. Morgan & Co., Wal-Mart Senior Vice President and Treasurer Jay Fitzsimmons told investors that Black Friday sales "were good," noting strong sales of computers, dolls, portable DVD players and video games.

According to Fitzsimmons, this year's Black Friday event was more successful because Wal-Mart stepped-up marketing efforts and picked better items for early-bird specials and other ad blitzes.

Some of the hot items included laptop computers for under $400 and a 15-inch LCD TV for less than $200 — both of which sold out within minutes.

"Last year, we had a fair number of blitz items left (on Saturday), meaning we picked the wrong items," Fitzsimmons said.

Fitzsimmons also noted that Apple Computer's iPod digital music players were among the items conspicuously absent from Wal-Mart's shelves last year. He attributed the company's decision not to cary the iPod to a "philosophical argument" with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs over whether the iPod player should play music from more varied sources.

"He won, we lost. Now we have nanos in the stores," Fitzsimmons said.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart operates nearly 5000 locations worldwide and is also largest private employer in the United States, with over 1.1 million U.S. employees.

Apple and Wal-Mart entered into a sales partnership earlier this year, running pilot programs to test sales following the release of Apple's iPod shuffle and updated iPod mini players.