BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows spoke with Steve Jobs to discuss Apple’s music success and where it might lead. An interesting excerpt:
Q: Who do you consider your top competition in the online music business?
A: Presently, the thing that’s determining our rate of success isn’t any competitor, because our market share is dramatically larger than our competitors’. It’s purely this transition to this new world of digital music. That’s what’s determining our growth. We’ve had some strong competitors over the past two years, and we’ve managed to come out on top.
Q: What about Microsoft (MSFT )?
A: Microsoft doesn’t make music players, and the last time I looked they don’t have a music store, though they say they’re going to.
Q: But they’ve got many partners in both hardware and on the services side using Microsoft technologies, such as Windows media format and digital rights management software [which Apple doesn’t support].
A: Yeah, and the people using their technologies have yet to be successful.
Q: Still, many companies are lining up in support of various standards. Aren’t you concerned that this could play out like the PC market, in which Apple had a superior product, according to many people, and a market share lead?
A: Whoever enters this market now, is going to enter a market that’s not in its infancy. And they’ll enter a market against a competitor that has a 70% market share — and surprisingly, that competitor’s name will not be Microsoft. It will be Apple. Now, I understand that there’s no guarantee we’ll stay on top, but that’s the situation.
Q: So you don’t believe the history of the Mac and PC is useful in looking at the music business?
A: It’s ancient history.
Q: But you must think about it. There must be lessons to be drawn.
A: [Pausing] Sorry, I don’t think of it that way. I just don’t. I got back to Apple six-and-a-half years ago. The hand was dealt [by then]. And we’ve done a really great job of building great products for the best 25 million customers any company ever had. Hopefully, more customers will decide they want the world’s best computers, too.
Full article with much more here.