The cheap-chic retailer will stop selling the Kindle this month.
Target's statement -- as retold through The Verge -- is brazen:
Target continually evaluates its product assortment to deliver the best quality and prices for our guests. Target is phasing out Kindles and Amazon- and Kindle-branded products in the spring of 2012. We will continue to offer our guests a full assortment of ereaders and supporting accessories including the Nook.
Barnes & Noble's
Oh, right. Target is tired of subsidizing Amazon's global domination. Why sell consumers a device that will send them off to Amazon's ecosystem the next time that they need to buy books, CDs, or DVDs? This is war between the bricks and the brick-nots. Why send enforcements and ammo to the enemy?
This naturally leads us to Best Buy
If Target is reportedly planning to stop replenishing its Kindles after Mother's Day, why should Best Buy keep birthing these demon babies? Amazon's success may or may not have come at Target's expense, but it's clear that the past year of sluggish sales and cascading profitability at Best Buy is largely Amazon's handiwork.
One can argue that booting Kindle gadgetry from its real-world stores would simply speed up the online migration, but what does it have to lose at this point?
Booting the Kindle -- hot off the heels of Target's eviction -- would send a strong message. It may also lead some consumers to wrongfully believe that the Kindle is a flop.
Target and Best Buy were two of the first physical retailers to validate the Kindle by stocking the e-reader. Why can't they be the tastemakers trying to sway consumers to go with rival ecosystems that aren't directly funding their demise?
It's a delicate balance, of course. Target isn't known for its consumer electronics. It's no big deal if it only sells the country's second most popular e-reader. Best Buy has more to lose. Then again, given the company's problematic state, does it really have anything to lose by making a tactical move that would embarrass its fiercest competitor?
Best Buy is not a good buy
I entered a bearish CAPScall on Best Buy in Motley Fool CAPS five months ago. The call is beating the market so far -- because Best Buy is not. If you want to play nice with the trends that will pay off in the future, forget Best Buy and begin reading up on the stocks that smart investors are buying. It's a free report, but it will only be available for a limited time so check it out now.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing puts on Barnes & Noble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
More from The Motley Fool
Target Sprinkles Holiday Cheer on Investors
The holiday shopping season wasn't nearly as bad as management had predicted back in November.
No. Apple and Amazon Aren't Going to Lead a Mega-Merger Boom in 2018
There's a better chance you'll win the lottery.
How the Tax Bill Could Hurt Amazon
Without much in the way of profits, the tax bill does little for the e-commerce giant. It's a different story for those looking to dethrone the online juggernaut.