Apple and Wal-Mart Partnership?

Variety is reporting that Apple and Wal-Mart are in discussions over an alliance that would ease tensions between the two companies. A previous report indicated that Wal-Mart had warned movie studios against working with Apple. Though Wal-mart denied these claims, this new article reports that three other movie studios had planned on joining in the iTunes launch as of July, but backed out due to threats from Wal-Mart.

The potential Apple/Wal-Mart deal would involve "digital download 'coupon' that would allow consumers to buy movies, TV shows or music on iTunes with Apple paying the retail giant a percentage of the proceeds".

The benefit to Apple would be the ability to gain access to movie titles from the other major studios. Regardless, with no real retaliation against Disney so far, it appears many of the other studios are close to joining iTunes:

Studio sources say the rest of the majors are very close to joining Disney in a deal with Apple but are holding off until the end of the key fourth quarter, when half of all DVD sales occur.