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. I do know that I bought a sp 1.8 g5. And many other bits of mac stuff from ebay to attach to it. I bought an ipod. I will be buying a new mac every 18 months, and a new ipod probably every 18 months too. As a pc user, I had built my own systems and upgraded them a bit at a time… always battling the molasses effect of using a pc on the net. Now… I am a typical switcher? Maybe. The consistency of quality from apple makes staying a customer a wise choice…

  2. Poor Little Joey Mc. He’ll keep believing his own writings. Meantime, my old Mac, circa 1997, is running the latest, greatest Mac OS. I do own another newer Mac, but the old one is doing just fine. I spent my $1200 or so back in 1997. It’s lasted 7 years. Joey Mc spent his $900 3 years ago and it probably won’t run the latest XP. Oh well, he’ll find another cheap computer that will last him another 2 years. That’s why he never gets ahead.

    Personally, I’d spend twice what I do if that’s what it took to keep me running on OS X instead of having to work on XP, but don’t tell Steve that! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. “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.”

    A truly PATHETIC and ERRONEOUS observation as usual.

    Only a total moron would still believe the FUD about Macs costing more.

  4. do they still sell Ford Taurus ?
    they never sold them over here.

    Macs are cool .. only thinkg I hate about Mac OS X .. that i cannot proceed working with the system when i get an occasional kernel panic [1 in a week on average] .. like I was used to on windows with BSOD in win98
    i am no troll. i love my mac. i even know why the kernel panic [because of USB ISDN modem draytek]. only the cost is very much true here in Slovakia .. here and also in rest of Europe .. Apple chooses to have much higher prizes than in US .. I have no idea why.

    otherwise .. I would never go back to windows [at this point of my knowledge about computers]

  5. Quote from Hywel:

    “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 ?”

    Excellent! In many ways better than the BMW analogy. I’ll use it, if I may.


  6. Yawn. Thanks dave h. you actually do have me pegged, and I appreciate your opinion. Mac users like you convince me I am missing something, dunno what yet. RVfortytwo of course on one hand says cost doesn’t matter and on the other says they cost the same, and I haven’t figured out why. It may be he doesn’t remember his old posts. His vitriol is of course entertaining.

    I was in the organic food, solar power, crystal gazing, touchy feely retail business for a long time, and the companies I worked for acknowledged that we were selling “new and better” stuff to the same customers over and over. Energy put into expanding our customer base got no more results than reinventing our existing products so that our customers, god love ’em, would buy more.
    I really do think that that, in essence, is what Apple does, and I think that Steve implied that in his interview. Of course Apple is a real force for the advancement of computing, not at all like the schlokmeisters I worked for…..but I don’t think the way that we look at our customers is much different.

    Weigh in on my post in this other thread:

    My response was about MDN’s, not the original act, since of course the only Queens we like in the US are a third on the flop…….except for Aryugaetu, who claimed special knowledge about queens at some point. Gay bars or some such I think he said.

    Anytime you guys want me to stop posting I will. I think it would be a shame, since some of you are worldy and wise enough to realise that discourse is healthy, there ya go. RV doesnt get a vote btw, and Abomb only a half.

  7. Joe says: “Those “25 million” customers will buy, almost slavishly, anything that apple produces”.

    Joe, please induldge this Apple customer in taking personal inventory of Apple products purchased:

    G5 Powermac – Nope
    G4 iMac – Nope
    G4 iBook – Nope
    G4 eMac – Nope
    iPod mini – Nope
    Airport Base Station – Nope
    iSight – Nope
    .Mac – Nope
    G5 X Serve – Nope
    Final Cut Pro – Nope
    Soundtrack – Nope
    DVD Studio Pro – Nope
    Keynote – Nope
    G4 Powerbook – Check
    G3 iBook – Check
    G4 Cube – Check
    iPod – Check

    Please don’t tell Mr. Jobs I haven’t bought all his stuff yet….he’ll kick me out of the club!

  8. In the interview Steve Jobs avoids answering the question about more products for non-Mac users. I take that to mean that something is being prepared and we will know about it soon. If I had to guess I would say that it will be new displays with DVI ports and an iPhoto for Windows. Apple has always been competitive with their displays but the current models work best with PowerMacs due to the ADC cables. As for iPhoto, it will not be long before photo-browsing capabilities will be added to the iPod and when that happens Windows users will need their own version of the software to use it.

  9. Apple has said specifically that iPhoto is not coming for Windows. DVI displays that retain easy ADC use sounds good to me though–as a DVI PowerBook owner!

  10. “My response was about MDN’s, not the original act, since of course the only Queens we like in the US are a third on the flop.”

    LOL. To think I spent five minutes trying to work out the link between Gay people and Poker ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  11. Although reading that comment again Joe, I hope we don’t have to add homophobia to your list of sins. I suspect from your New-Age career path that we don’t, unless you only sold your products to Christian ‘Mentalists and KKK members ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  12. Price issue is still coming along these days and I’d like to know why. Unless we talk about cheap PCs assembled with cheap parts almost falling apart as you unwrap the crap out of the box then I do no see price anymore being an issue when deciding to buy Apple or not.

    Laptops: here, where I do have access to in-house purchasing, if I do configure the PC as a Powerbook (or try to) the PC always costs more.
    (Dell, Fugitsu, IBM laptops) ~$200 more.

    Desktops (G5): the cheaper I found is the BOXX 64 bit dual. It costs us some $1000 over the G5.

    And, please, let’s not play again the silly refrain “I can buy a laptop for $900”. I am talking about products of acceptable (if ever) quality, not something with close to 50% mortality the first year: I can get a car load of that shit almost for nothing.

  13. I have been pressured to switch to a Mac many times, but successfully resisted. Recently my old Mac at home had a hard drive crash and a relative provided a Dell P4 for our use because she had just bought a Dell laptop (which died two weeks later). Soon after I got it set up I realized that I loathed its presence in my house. It started with the M$ OS updates and progressed into the virus checks and adware and spyware cleansing. This experience has been great for me because I no longer have even a smidgen of doubt that I should give in to the pressure. A PC interferes with my life.

    By the way, this relatively new PC isn’t substantially faster for the things that I do at home than my seven-year-old PM8500 with a G3/300 in it. Undoubtedly it would be for some tasks, but I got by just fine with my old Mac even using Photoshop. I sure am looking forward to a new G5, though!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.