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Reporters' Roundtable: Holiday tech buying update

We're in the middle of the holiday buying season, so it's a good time to talk about how the world has changed for gadget buyers--and sellers. The New York Times' Claire Cain Miller and CEO Mike Fridgen join us.

We are in the middle of the holiday buying season right now, between the first rush of gift-buying that happened on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the "Oh, crap, I need to start buying presents!" feeling that happens in about a week.

This is the most important month for the consumer tech economy, but this December will be different from all the ones that came before it.

Why? Mobile devices, online shopping, social networking, improved analytics, changing tax laws, and changing behaviors among both buyers and sellers, among other reasons. Today we are talking about how the gadget economy is evolving.

My guests are: Claire Cain Miller, a reporter at The New York Times who's been writing about this topic, and a returning guest to the Roundtable; and Mike Fridgen, CEO of one of my favorite tech startups, This company runs a service that can tell you if the price of a tech item you're looking at is good today and if it will be going up or down in the near future.

Now playing: Watch this: Ep. 102: Holiday tech buying update


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Discussion points:

First, the numbers: How'd the gadget industry do at the opening of this season?

How has gadget shopping and buying changed in the last five years?

Is the store as we know it dying? Are stores becoming just showcases for people with smartphones?

Will online and offline pricing models merge?

WalMart may be known as a heartland company, but is here in Silicon Valley. Why?

Why are Best Buy prices so ridiculously high?

Who's most aggressive in dynamic pricing?

How can smaller retailers compete, online?

Impact of deals and coupons, or of social networks?

Apple stores: Why do they work? Why don't other companies do this right? (Sony tried...)

Impact of sales tax changes.

Advice: Best mobile tools for smart shoppers? Best sites?