Steve Jobs on iPod/iTunes; says Mac users ‘the best 25 million customers any company ever had’

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.


  1. He correctly identifies the unique market base that Apple has. Those “25 million” customers will buy, almost slavishly, anything that apple produces, while the rest of us do cost and benefit analysis and conclude, once again, that a new Mac, despite its mystic qualities, costs too much.

  2. But Joe, the problem is that all you do is compare a fews specs (misleading as always). Have you ever heard the saying “a little knowledge is dangerous”? Next time when you do your cost analysis, factor in how much time you’ve spent having problems on your pc, from rebooting (my mac hasn’t crashed in three years), to having issues when you get a new piece of hardware/software (we’re talking true plug & play here), to “The blue screen of death”, to viruses (or the anxiety of the threat of viruses). Then I want you to spend some time on a Mac, and realize the OS is absolutely wonderful. After you do that, when you go back to the PC, all of a sudden it will seem kind of “junky”. No Quartz, No Dock, cheap keyboard, etc…

    Now, how much money did you save?

  3. OM McConnell’s comments are only fair when someone is considering switching. I have at least �2500 in Mac software on top of my two Macs. To throw that away and start again on Windows would mean I finally start making a saving about four or five computers in, or about six years time (ho ho). In the meantime, I am vulnerable to viruses again, and have to put up with that stapled together rubbish Microsoft considers an interface.

    Of course, I could always go Linux, but I really don’t want to spend the next year compiling drivers for every new bit of kit I buy, and then I would also have the problem of actually having those file incompatibilities that Windows users like to convince themselves the Mac has.

    Sorry Joe, I know you write these comments to get reactions from people like me, and I know you’re smiling in glee at the prospect that I’m paying attention, but once again, I choose the Mac. Not because I’m an Apple slave, but because I think it is a better computer. By a long way.

  4. Even assuming that McConnell’s comments are right, and intial costs are greater. Even if TOC was greater overall with Mac, I’d still use Macs.

    Why? Because I like them more.

    My house cost more than I actually needed to pay for a property. It’s in a reasonably nice area, close to good schools, close enough to transport links and has room enough for guests too. This is a ‘Mac’ house. The ‘PC’ house would be in a trailer park. Sure, the do largely the same thing (keep you dry and warm), but plenty of people are willing to pay a premium to live somewhere nice. Why is that ? Are they all stupid for not living in a trailer park ?

  5. [Those “25 million” customers will buy, almost slavishly, anything that apple produces,]

    If true, then Apple would always be sold out of products, as we MacSlaves would hit stores like a swarm of locusts the instant Apple shipped products.

    [while the rest of us do cost and benefit analysis and conclude, once again, that a new Mac, despite its mystic qualities, costs too much.]

    Maybe the ‘rest of you’ are using ‘FuzzyMath’ to conclude your analysis.

    You seem to be implying – yet again – that ‘us’ MacSlaves are a bunch of senseless KoolAid guzzlers. Well I wonder, whose ‘Koolaid’ works better, Steve’s or Bill’s?

    Well, let’s crunch the numbers. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    25-30M ‘MacFollowers’ versus 250-300M ‘WinFollowers’… …

  6. I don’t know… I value my sanity more to me than a couple hundred bucks I save buying a PC. Besides, in the long run, Macs are cheaper to own. Maybe McConnel’s sanity is that worthless?

  7. Wintel trolls, always a sign of Apple successes. Like birds chirping in springtime ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    (And like birds, the only sense to be found in the noise is the predictable repetition.)

  8. Success does not have to mean dominating the entire computer market. I think that for most people, staying in business for twenty plus years and serving 25 million customers is success. I know I would be quite happy if my business does as well. There can be more than one “winner” right?

  9. Joe, my cost/benefits analysis lead straight to the Mac.

    If we are slaves to Apple then why in the world does Apple expend so much effort building such amazing products?

    It scares me when I find out my competitors are switching to Macs…

  10. Hey, This morning there was an article on the Apple Insider website. about the revised Super Bowl ad. Apparenly there is a hint in the video (dates) about something happening or being announced tomorrow morning. I just went back to it and the article was taken down. Apparently, there is a hint in the video about tomorrow morning. Did anyone else see it?

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