“The online music industry — now working under a pay-per-song model — has blossomed. That has set up Creative for perhaps its biggest showdown. The 23-year-old company is stepping up its foray into digital music players as competition in the market heats up with the success of Apple’s iPod player… with Apple recently stealing the spotlight in portable music players, Creative hopes to take back its place as an innovator and leader,” Sam Diaz reports for The Mercury News.
[MacDailyNews Take: Good luck with that hope there, Creative. If you’ve tried to use a Creative player after using an iPod, you know it’s like forsaking your Kershaw Shun Pro knife and instead trying to slice a tomato with a Southern Pine 2×4.]
“The company will be one of the first to add video to its audio players when it introduces the Zen Personal Media Center later this year. Last month, it countered Apple’s next-generation iPod — a $300, 20-gigabyte unit with a 12-hour battery life — with the Zen Touch, a $269, 20-gigabyte unit with a 24-hour battery life,” Diaz reports.
[MacDailyNews Take: What good is a player with counterintuitive controls that doesn’t work with the world’s best online music store, even if it is a whopping $30 cheaper?]
“Still, taking on the iPod amid rising competition will be tough,” Diaz writes. “‘You can basically look at Apple as the Coca-Cola of that market with everyone else trying to be Pepsi,’ said Hamed Khorsand, senior research analyst at BWS Financial in Los Angeles.”
[MacDailyNews Take: Emphasis on the word “trying” above. Everyone else is trying to be Pepsi, but no company has succeeded, yet. For the record, Coke’s 2003 worldwide market share stood at 44%, with Pepsi at 31.8% (source). In contrast, Apple holds a market-dominating position with both their iTunes Music Store, the number one online music service in the world with over 70% market share of legal downloads, and their iPod line which holds over 50% of the market for digital music players. So, the Coke/Pepsi comparison is fairly inappropriate.]
“The iPod’s success has helped give Apple a commanding lead among hard-disk music player companies, with Creative holding the No. 2 spot in market share. [President of Creative Labs, Craig McHugh] said he isn’t pushing a ‘Beat Apple’ campaign. Creative believes that it has a better product line, a better price-for-storage value, and the ability to play several music formats and work with several online music stores, unlike the iPod,” Diaz reports. “‘We believe we have to have the best performance,’ McHugh said. ‘We believe we have to offer an incredible price-value. If the consumers make wise choices, we’re going to do exceptionally well.'”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Wouldn’t the wisest choice be to go with the world’s best digital music players, Apple’s iPod and iPod mini, and use it in conjunction with the world’s best legal online music service, Apple’s iTunes Music Store?