Citing NPD data and internal Apple sources, Ars Technica declared iTunes the #1 music retailer in January, besting Wal-Mart for the first time, along with Best Buy, Amazon and others. Debunkers have claimed that this is only because of gift-card redemption but Ars' Eric Bangeman updated his piece, calling BS on the BS callers:
I explicitly noted that the results may be somewhat inflated by gift cards, and I noted that other retailers on the list have gift cards, too—don't forget that fact. And a sale is a sale...This is a monumental event for Apple, because while the company may not be guaranteed the top spot for eternity—or even the following month—it is something many thought would never happened.
On the other hand, maybe it just proves that iTunes gift cards are way better stocking stuffers than Wal-Mart gift cards. We've asked Apple for some clarity—hopefully we'll get it. [Ars Technica]