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The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart "has acquired two Silicon Valley tech startups. The deals are the latest in a string of more than a dozen small investments to boost its e-commerce operations ... The retail giant has been scooping up small internet companies for the past two years in a bid to catch up with rival, which currently racks up nearly four times the online sales in the U.S. as Wal-Mart."

According to the story, "Tuesday’s acquisitions include Tasty Labs, a software application development company started by former Google and Mozilla employees and was backed by venture capital giants Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square ventures, as well as OneOps, a cloud computing company started by a group of eBay veterans."

The Journal writes that "the startups will become part of @WalmartLabs, the technology arm of Wal-Mart’s Global e-commerce division."
KC's View:
These strike me as very smart moves, but the big challenge, as I've written in the past, is that Walmart seems genetically engineered with antibodies designed to fight off any challenge to the traditional supercenter business.

It seems to me that Walmart has to simultaneously understand that a) the bricks-and-mortar business and online business have to be integrated in a way so that consumers perceive Walmart as being a seamless shopping experience, and b) its online business will be competing not just with other retailers, but also with supercenters for the consumer dollar.

In essence, Walmart has to be comfortable with disruption from within. I'm not sure we've seen that yet from the Bentonville Behemoth, but my sense is that this is the goal, at least in some quarters.