“There’s one easy step Jobs could take right now that would take advantage of his soaring share price to open up whole new fields of growth. Buy Palm,” Brett Arends writes for The Boston Herald.

“The reason? IPods are not quite as invincible as they look,” Arends writes. “They’re no longer clearly the best digital music player. They’re heavy and the battery life isn’t that great. Rival products the size of your thumb include a radio.”

“Sure, Apple’s iTunes music store is easy to use, and revenues trebled last year to $899 million. But its music range is limited, and free file-sharing won’t go away. Once it was Napster. Now it’s Limewire. Next year, who knows? Apple is trying to build a defensive moat around its business. Only an iPod will play iTunes music and use iPod accessories. But this harkens back to the disastrous closed strategy of the 1980s, when the company refused to license the Mac operating system to other computer manufacturers,” Arends writes.

Full article here.
Apple iPods are clearly the best digital music players. They are not at all “heavy.” In fact, iPods are unbelievably small and light. iPod battery life is exceptional for the small sizes and light weights of the units (Learn how to maximize your iPod battery’s life and lifespan here – a properly maintained iPod battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 400 full charge and discharge cycles). FM radio is obviously not important to consumers – just look at iPod sales for proof. Macs and Windows PCs will play iTunes Music Store songs and videos. You don’t even need an iPod to enjoy iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. iPods can play AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Music Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3 and 4), Apple Lossless, WAV, and AIFF formats.

The iPod is not the Mac, so stop trying to compare them. The Macintosh platform required and still requires huge investments by developers to create compatible software. The iPod simply plays music that can be encoded, for very little cost, in any format the “developers” (musicians and labels) desire: AAC, MP3, WMA, etc. The music doesn’t need to be rewritten, recorded, and remastered. It’s like writing Photoshop once and then pressing a button to translate it for use on Mac, Windows, Linux, etc. To draw an analogy between Mac OS licensing and the iPod/iTunes symbiotic relationship simply highlights the writer’s ignorance of the vast differences between the two business situations.

We could go on, but this is tiresome, silly stuff that we and others have already refuted many times over. When did Arends write this article, three years ago – only to see it published today? Yeah, we know, it’s the Boston Herald, so don’t expect much quality reporting. For Apple to buy Palm today would be almost as stupid and outdated as this article.

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Related articles:
Palm goes to the dark side, next Treo to use Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 – September 26, 2005
Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 13, 2005
Enjoying Apple’s iTunes and iTunes Music Store without owning an iPod – May 11, 2005
The iPod is not the Mac, so stop trying to compare them – August 13, 2004
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004