Business Week columnist: Apple iPod market share not as huge as you might think

“With iPod mania running full tilt, many people assume that Apple (AAPL ) utterly dominates the markets for digital-music players. And that includes Apple itself. ‘In the biggest markets we’re…40% to 50% of the market share of all MP3 players. That includes flash and hard-drive players,’ said Apple sales chief Phil Schiller during a May 14 Merrill Lynch conference call. He also claimed that iPod sales outstripped the combined sales of the competitors in second, third, fourth, and fifth place. ‘Our market share is tremendous,’ Schiller gushed,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek.

“Apple officials are careful to state that they’re referring only to markets in the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe, where they believe they have good tracking data. Although no one monitors overall international numbers, most analysts have assumed Apple has well over 25% of worldwide digital-music player sales. They base that view on Apple’s strength in those three key markets,” Salkever writes.

“Too bad their assumption is off base: The iPod’s global market share may actually fall well below the 25% mark… The iPod is clearly the market leader in digital-music players. And it’s certainly the coolest in the pack. But a quick look at the big picture shows that Apple has yet to achieve dominance in the sector, despite the hype,” Salkever writes.

Full article here.


  1. Marketshre falls under the principles of the following three;

    there are;

    1 – lies
    2 – BIG lies
    3 – Statistics

    marketshare takes a piece of all three components.

  2. Great Salkever at it again, trying to make the iPod look like it’s not selling well and that Apple is lying about their marketshare. That guy never gives up. He really shoudn’t be writing a mac-centric column, he should be writing an “I hate Apple” column.

    He’s trying to use sketchy info, versus hard data to make it look like just MAYBE apple’s numbers are wrong. He’s quoting “estimates” and comparing them to actual sales numbers.

    Reading the article, the gist of it is, “Apple’s numbers are wrong… maybe. Sort of, ok maybe not.” More and more FUD all around us today…

  3. This guy is counting numbers of chips shipped, and trying to make the iPod’s number look smaller.

    While he has good logic, his execution is flawed. It may be true that 15 million chips designed for music player were shipped last year, but if only 10 million of those were actually shipped in a final product, than you can only count the 10 million in final marketshare figures.

    See my point?

  4. It’s funny how the Apple haters are more and more just having to grasp for straws these days. It’s obvious that it’s becoming harder to prove their “Apple is going out of business” theory now than it was 10-15 years ago. LOL

  5. There was an MP3 Player that was selling well because the HD was removable. I can’t remember which one right now but it was coming close to iPod sales I heard. The thing was nobody was using it as a music player. The HD sold separately was way more than the price of the MP3 player so people were taking it out of the player and using it in digital cameras.

  6. Salkever is right! Apple market share for iPod may be less than 25%. However, using exactly same argument, the Apple’s market may be much much greater than 50%, since Apple iPod may have higher market penetration in the untracked countries.

  7. What I cannot understand is why there is such a large group of people that make it their mission to slander Apple and their products.

    It’s as if these people were beat-up by an Apple computer as little kids and have forever held a grudge against Apple.

    It really is silly. Silly and sad.

  8. What I cannot understand is why there is such a large group of people that make it their mission to slander people who comment on Apple and their products.

    It’s as if these people were beat-up by an people commenting on Apple computer as little kids and have forever held a grudge against people who criticize Apple.

    It really is silly. Silly and sad.

  9. I don’t get it; Apple’s iPod doesn’t have the huge market share in countries that Apple doesn’t have a presence in? So what??? In the places that the iPod is available, they’re doing more than okay. And to infer that Apple is lying about their global market share is disingenous of a Business Week columnist who should know better.

    To use a car analogy, I can’t just go bopping down to my local Mercedes dealer here in the states and pick out a SMART Car, but that doesn’t mean that DaimlerChrysler is lying about their ‘global’ market share, just because they don’t offer a particular product line in some country… I’ve never seen a SMART on a U.S. interstate, so therefore DaimlerChrysler is not doing as well as they claim? I call bull**** on that kind of thinking.

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